When you are dealing with a family law concern, it can feel as if your entire world has been turned upside down. You may have questions about your rights, what to expect in court, or what your life may look like following a divorce or custody battle.
At the Law Offices of George M. Sanders, P.C., our founding attorney has more than 30 years of legal experience. We focus on providing legal advice and representation for people with divorce and family law needs. You will find our lawyers to be understanding, efficient and cost-effective.
Please contact us online today at our Chicago family law and divorce law firm to schedule your consultation at no initial charge. You may also call 312-624-7645 to discuss your situation or to learn about our services.
When you hire our law firm to represent you in your family law matter, you are hiring a lawyer with all the experience and training of a big-firm attorney. But because we are not a large law firm, you will work directly with an experienced attorney, at competitive rates. Your case will not be passed off to a paralegal or an associate: A seasoned lawyer will always remain primarily responsible for your case.
Attorney George M. Sanders opened the Law Offices of George M. Sanders, P.C., in 2005. Prior to that, he spent the majority of his over 30-year legal career at large and successful commercial litigation law firms in New York and Chicago, which included Dewey, Ballantine in New York City and Holland & Knight in Chicago. He combines his education in economics and finance from St. John’s University (where he graduated summa cum laude), his legal education from the University of Chicago Law School, and over two decades of professional legal experience to offer exceptional legal services.
At the Law Offices of George M. Sanders, P.C., we have the technical resources and technical education to provide a full range of services for the most complex divorce issues, including the calculation of child support and maintenance, asset searches, and various forms of computerized research.
Our lead attorney’s trial litigation experience and education have given him the skills needed to assist clients in a broad range of divorce cases, including property and financial cases involving property distribution and financial considerations. We also represent clients requiring same-sex family law or same-sex divorce counseling.
Settlements are not always fair, and circumstances can change that will make some modifications necessary. We can help you with your post-divorce modifications, including changes in spousal maintenance, parenting schedules, custody issues, and the issues raised by one party trying to remove a child from the state.
When children are involved, emotions and the concern for the children’s well-being play an important role in the resolution of the divorce case. We will work with you to resolve all types of child-related issues, including child support, visitation and custodial matters. We can help answer your questions about the different types of custody you might have available, including the differences between legal and residential custody, as well as joint custody arrangements.
No two cases are exactly alike, but understanding the basic divorce process in Illinois can help you prepare for the journey ahead. Click on the boxes below to learn more about each step.
Most of us have heard stories about other people’s divorces or seen the fictional version in movies and TV. But if you’ve never actually been through a divorce, you probably have a lot of basic questions. We’ve provided answers to many of the most common questions on our FAQ pages and in our blog posts, but if you don’t see an answer to your question, you can use our online contact form to reach out and learn more.
Once you decide that getting divorced is your best option or that you are seriously considering a divorce, you should consider contacting an attorney who has experience dealing with domestic relations issues. Not all lawyers are experienced in addressing issues such as spousal support, valuing and dividing complex marital assets, or dealing with dissipation issues. If you’re ending a long-term marriage or you and your spouse co-own a business, it is particularly important to seek advice from an experienced domestic relations attorney.
As a technical matter, a divorce proceeding begins when a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage is filed. On a practical level, the process of getting divorced can begin long before a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage is filed. Some couples are able to discuss the financial issues raised in a divorce without having to first go to court. Some couples will go to mediation to try to resolve their differences.
Once a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage is filed, both parties will be required to prepare and exchange a financial disclosure statement. In this document, each spouse will provide, for example, the following information: (a) their prior year’s income, (b) how much they have currently earned, (c) various deductions from their income, (d) their living expenses, (e) their debts, and (f) certain general information concerning assets.
Most divorce proceedings end in a settlement. It is important, therefore, to have a solid negotiation strategy. Once you and your legal team have gathered the necessary information, you can determine what terms are in your best interest and develop an appropriate settlement strategy. How the case proceeds at this point will depend on the specifics of your divorce. For example, how reasonable is your spouse, do significant factual disagreements exist, and are your positions close enough that you can actually reach a compromise.
Settlement – Most often, the spouses, with the help of their attorneys, can reach an agreement on how to settle the divorce action through negotiations without going to trial. A judge will still need to review the agreement and ensure that it is not unconscionable, but in the overwhelming majority of cases the divorce settlement will be accepted, and the marriage will be dissolved.
Choosing to end a marriage can be extremely difficult. When the parties have children, filing for divorce can be even more difficult knowing that getting divorced will have a large impact on your children. Further, you may have serious concerns about what will happen to your rights as a parent in the divorce process with respect to issues such as custody and parenting time. It’s understandable to start by learning more about divorce and exploring options like legal separation, counseling or mediation. But if you have concluded that your marriage cannot go on and you cannot or do not want to live with your spouse, then divorce is an option.
Even before you have made a final decision on ending your marriage, you should seek guidance from an experienced divorce attorney. Your lawyer will provide you advice as to the legal process, your rights as a parent, develop a strategy for your case and be your advocate through the entire divorce process. It is important to find a local divorce attorney who is a good fit and one with experience with respect to the specific issues in your case. For example, if you expect to seek or pay spousal support, or you and your former spouse own a business together, then you’ll need an attorney who is familiar with these matters.
A divorce proceeding officially begins when one spouse files a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage. Your spouse will then be served with papers notifying them of the divorce. However, the informal steps, like preparation and gathering of documents, often begin well before the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage is filed. For some couples who have limited assets or who agree on most issues, it may be possible to resolve the financial issues surrounding their divorce without going to court. Mediation may also be an option for some couples. An experienced domestic relations lawyer can help you better understand your rights and legal options, identify your goals and priorities, and explain the types of information you will need to make informed decisions.
This information will be the basis for an initial financial analysis. In many marriages, this information is enough to move forward and negotiate a settlement. But if one or both spouses have significant assets, own a business, or believe that dissipation of assets has occurred, then more information may be required. And in some cases, you may not believe what your spouse reports on the disclosure form.
In a divorce proceeding, if the parents do not come into court with a custody agreement and parenting plan, the court will send the parents to mediation. This is required in practically all divorces involving children. A court may grant an exemption to the mediation requirement if domestic violence or sexual abuse has occurred. The court-ordered mediation oftentimes results in a custody agreement or parenting plan, and in many cases will significantly narrow the parties’ disagreements.
Once you’ve gathered all the relevant information and each party has developed their settlement positions and strategy, your attorney will work with you and your spouse’s attorney to try and resolve any remaining disputes. The majority of all divorce proceedings end in negotiation, so it is important to prepare yourself by formulating a good negotiation strategy. And if the parties are not able to reach a settlement through negotiation, your attorney will prepare you for and guide you through a divorce trial if necessary.
Whenever a divorce proceeding involves children, the court will have to address the issue of child support, which is the financial contribution that one parent may be required to pay to the other to help support their children. The amount of child support one parent will pay is determined by looking at a number of factors, including, but not limited to, the number of children, the income of each parent and the amount of parenting time each parent has with the children. Your lawyer will help you fight for an amount of child support that is fair.
Settlement – The couples agree among themselves on all issues and submit a settlement or divorce decree to the court. The court will review the settlement to verify that it is legally valid, and once it is accepted, the marriage is dissolved.
While the marriage may be technically over, the legal work may not be entirely completed. When the parties have certain types of retirement assets, one of the parties may need to prepare a special type of order that instructs the pension plan or other type of retirement plan to divide the assets according to the divorce judgment. This process oftentimes involves working with the relevant spouse’s employer to get the proper type of form and information as to the procedures for getting the order approved by the employer.
You will find our attorneys to be flexible, responsive, and ready to begin providing exceptional representation to protect your rights and your best interests immediately. Call our law office now at 312-624-7645 to schedule a consultation about your family law needs at no initial charge.