Common Divorce Questions
Common Custody Questions
How long will my divorce take?
Unfortunately, the timeframe for a divorce is very difficult to determine―and you should be cautious of any attorney who claims to know the answer. Lawyers you speak with will only hear your side of the story, which may be 100% correct, but that doesn’t tell any lawyer what the other side is going to claim or do. Generally, the length of a divorce depends on your particular situation as well as factors beyond your control, such as:
The degree to which you and your spouse agree on issuesThe cooperation between you and your spouseThe court schedule in a particular county
In circumstances where both spouses agree on every issue, a divorce can usually be completed in a few weeks (this is called an “uncontested divorce”). However, if the parties cannot agree on custody, property division or other matters, a divorce can take at least a year or more. If there are issues involving concealed or hidden assets, a divorce can take as long as several years to complete.
How much will my divorce cost?
Our firm takes pride in the quality of our work and in our ability to keep our fees reasonable and competitive in the Chicago metro area. Just as with the length of a divorce, no attorney can predict what a contested divorce will cost because we never know what the other side is going to do. The cost is closely related to the time (as all law offices work on an hourly basis), but we work hard to be efficient and pragmatic in moving your case to a conclusion. We do this by ensuring that each client is properly attended to and communicated with throughout the case. This is the best way of ensuring the case stays within a budget is through personal attention and constant contact with our clients to make sure you are not just another file or number like many offices that operate “volume” practices. Rather, our experienced, compassionate, and (when needed) aggressive attorneys focus on the individual needs of each client. As a result, we will not be your least expensive option for a divorce lawyer nor will we be your most expensive. Instead, we strive to offer our clients exceptional legal service for the best value possible.
My partner/spouse controls all of the money and I don’t have money to pay fees, what do I do?
There are certain statutes that allow one party to obtain access to funds and resources to pay fees even if those funds and resources may be in the control of one person. In short, both parties are entitled to equal and adequate legal representation and should not be restricted in hiring an attorney simply because he or she doesn’t have control of assets. An attorney at Hoffenberg & Block, can speak with you regarding the facts of your situation and discuss your options in accessing funds to pay an initial retainer.
What if my spouse is hiding money, income or assets?
Unfortunately, we are all to familiar with this problem, and it is far more common than most people realize. If your spouse has concealed assets, we will work with you to find hidden money, income or property using all means legally available. We have the ability to send subpoenas to employers, businesses, banks and close friends or relatives of a spouse; and when appropriate, we will work with forensic accountants, private investigators and other professionals to help trace and locate the hidden money, income or assets. However, one must always keep costs into account and make a cost/benefit analysis when it comes to finding hidden funds. For example, it does not make sense to spend $1000 to find $1000. Your attorney will work with you to determine what degree of investigation is worthwhile in your particular case.
Will I lose everything to my spouse?
No, you will not lose everything to your spouse. In Illinois, courts will attempt to divide the property of both spouses equitably―or fairly―looking at numerous factors such as the potential earning power of each spouse, the length of the marriage, and the assets each spouse brought into the marriage. Our lawyers are skilled at preparing and presenting the evidence for a favorable property division in a unique manner to ensure that you obtain your fair share of marital assets.
How does a court determine who will receive custody of a child?
California child custody laws require courts to focus on “the best interest of the child” and not the best interest of the parent(s) when deciding child custody. In determining a child’s best interests, the court will usually take into consideration what each parent wants, what the child wants if he or she is of sufficient age and capacity to form a preference (usually 14 years of age, and other factors indicative of the child’s physical, mental, and moral well-being. In most cases, the court will try to order arrangements that are least disruptive to the child, and it will always try to protect the child from parental disputes.
For a complete list of child custody factors, please see our child custody and visitation page.
What is the difference between legal and physical custody?
Legal custody is the decision-making responsibilities associated with a child’s education, health care, medical treatment and religious upbringing. Physical custody refers to where the child lives and who has responsibilities associated with daily childcare. In a joint custody situation, parents share legal and physical custody of a child. However, this does not always mean each parent has the child exactly one-half of the time. Rather, one parent is generally the custodial parent, with whom the child lives most of the time, and the other parent has visitation rights.
If I have joint custody, do I have to pay child support?
In most custody cases, the child or children end up living with one parent the majority of the time, and the parent with primary care responsibilities is entitled to child support. This means that if you are the primary caretaker or custodial parent of a child or children, you are entitled to child support. The minimum amount of child support is set by Illinois law.
My income has gone down and I can’t afford to pay support, can I just stop paying?
If there is an order requiring you to pay support and you are unable to pay because of a change in your financial circumstances then you need to file a motion to modify your obligation with the Court. The Court cannot consider your right to modify until such a motion is filed even if you are unemployed for years and unable to pay. In such a situation if you don’t file a motion you could be owing thousands of dollars in arrears for prior years.
What are my first steps moving forward?
When you choose to work with our firm, you will be working with professionals who have over 100 years of experience in dealing with complicated family law issues. No case is too complex for our firm to handle. If you are in the Chicago area, including Cook, Lake, DuPage, Will or McHenry Counties in Illinois, do not hesitate to contact Hoffenberg & Block and receive quality representation you expect and deserve. We understand that you may be facing a difficult time in your life, which is why we strive to provide our clients with comprehensive legal representation they can rely on as well as personal attention and honest advice that will guide them through their legal complications.