DuPage County Divorce Attorney
Helping Illinois Couples Move Forward When Their Marriages End
You Need a Divorce Attorney You Can Trust.
You have come to a turning point in your life. Your marriage is ending, and you have decided to get a divorce. You’re going to need a divorce attorney you can trust to guide you through the challenges you’re about to face.
In the months ahead, you’ll need to make a number of difficult decisions that will significantly impact virtually every aspect of your life. As the future plans you once shared with your spouse fade into your past, you’re going to experience heartbreak, anger, and maybe even resentment. These emotions can have an adverse impact on the outcome of your case.
To get through this, you’re going to need sound legal advice. You’ll need someone to help you keep your eye on the ball, so you can make the best decisions for yourself, your financial future, and your children. You need DuPage County divorce attorney Denise Erlich on your side.
DuPage County divorce attorney Denise Erlich provides straightforward, honest advice to help you make informed decisions about your future.
Denise has more than 20 years of legal experience and has represented Illinois couples in all types of family law cases, from collaborative law divorce to high-conflict divorce.
Denise is committed to resolving cases outside of court to minimize legal fees and emotional stress. However, when the situation calls for court, she is willing to fight and take a case to trial if necessary.
What Should You Expect When Looking for a Divorce Attorney in Chicago?
To the average divorce attorney, you will be just another faceless client. Divorce lawyers will often tell you what you want to hear to get you signed on as a client, and then move your case through the legal system in an impersonal manner. They might make empty promises, sidestep your questions, brush off your concerns, and even encourage conflict to draw out your case and increase their fees. Before you know it, you could end up paying for their children’s college education before your case is resolved.
Erlich Law Office, LLC is NOT your typical divorce law firm.
Led by experienced divorce lawyer Denise Erlich, our family law firm is dedicated to protecting your best interests and the well-being of your children. To us, you’re not just another face in the crowd. You’re like family, and we’ll take your concerns, your well-being, and your case personally. When you hire our law firm to handle your case, we won’t just tell you what you want to hear, and we won’t make empty promises about the outcome of your case. Instead, Denise offers her honest, objective opinion and sound legal advice to help you achieve real, sustainable solutions when divorce is inevitable.
We encourage you to achieve an amicable divorce.
Our team takes pride in helping our clients dissolve their marriages amicably. We understand that the more turbulence there is in a divorce, the more pain, financial burden, and emotional trauma there is for you and your kids. Trained and experienced in mediation and collaborative law, divorce
lawyer Denise Erlich has a talent for diffusing tense situations. She will work with you to focus on your family’s priorities and find middle ground.
Divorce attorney Denise Erlich will zealously advocate for you.
While Denise’s goals are to minimize your legal costs and to help you dissolve your marriage peacefully, she understands that isn’t always possible. Because some conflicts simply cannot be resolved out of court, she will have a litigation strategy ready just in case. Committed to ensuring your emotional, physical, and financial well-being are protected, divorce attorney Denise Erlich will fight for you in court if necessary.
What You Should Know About Getting Divorced in Illinois
Divorce attorney Denise Erlich brings a unique perspective to the table when it comes to advising her clients. Denise has more than 20 years of litigation experience. Her years as a divorce lawyer and her professional experiences are complimented by the personal challenges she has overcome as well.
According to Denise, here is what everyone should know about getting divorced in Illinois.
There Is NO Emotional Justice in Court
During this emotionally-charged time, it’s going to be tempting to get caught up in the drama and turmoil that accompany divorce. One very human reaction to emotional pain is for people to strike out at the party that caused them to hurt. To seek emotional justice. Realistically, however, there is no emotional justice in court. Fighting for things that you don’t really want, just to win, isn’t going to make you feel better in the long run. In fact, it could make your life a lot worse. Instead of fighting for things you don’t really care about just to get emotional justice, save your money for yourself, your kids, or your retirement.
Illinois Is a No-Fault Divorce State
When it comes to finalizing the end of your marriage, remember, Illinois is a no-fault divorce state. The recognized grounds for divorce in the state is “irreconcilable differences.” The days of needing to prove adultery, addiction, or abuse are long gone. To the courts, it doesn’t matter that you have been a wonderful wife or a really great husband. It makes no difference that your spouse (or you) made some terrible mistakes while you were married. Focusing on these factors during your divorce may make the divorce process take longer or be more costly, both emotionally and economically.
Your Marital Assets and Debts Will Be Divided Equitably, but Not Necessarily Equally
In divorce cases, Illinois courts allow for the equitable distribution of assets and debts. Equitable does not always mean equal, however. If you and your spouse can agree on the division of your marital property and debts outside of court, you’ll be able to have more control over who gets what. If litigation becomes necessary, however, the courts will decide. To achieve a fair allocation of your assets and liabilities, the courts will consider various factors. These include, but aren’t limited to, the duration of your marriage, each spouse’s income or earning capacity, the contributions you and your spouse have made, and the value of the property.
Do a Cost/Benefit Analysis
If your spouse refuses to budge, and you’re having trouble deciding how to handle a dispute, performing a cost/benefit analysis can help you make the decision that’s right for you. Divorce attorney Denise Erlich can help you evaluate the ways in which you may benefit from fighting it out, and how much it could cost you in the long run. If the money for your kids’ college or your retirement is on the line, a small victory may not seem as important. If the dispute involves your well-being or the best interests of your children, however, it might be best to bring the issue before the court and let the judge decide.
Get a Good Therapist/Support System
Divorce can wreak havoc on your mental health. In fact, it is common for divorcing spouses to suffer from depression, anxiety, and other conditions. Without a good therapist, support system, or both, the stress and emotional turmoil that often accompanies divorce can begin to impact your physical health, your job, and your ability to make decisions. Reach out to your doctor. Make an appointment with a local therapist. Join a support group. There is no shame in asking for help as you struggle through this difficult phase.
Start Planning the Next Chapter of Your Life
If your marriage is over, it’s time to move forward. One of the smartest (and healthiest) moves you can make when you’re dealing with divorce is to start planning the next chapter of your life. While it’s important to address the changes you’ll need to make, like who will pick up the kids after school, and how you’ll need to reorganize your budget, your quality of life is just as important. Make arrangements to take that vacation you’ve been wanting to take. Check into those college classes. Join that art group. Use this opportunity to allow yourself to grow.
Nobody Wins in Divorce
You are not going to “win” in your divorce. Your spouse isn’t going to win. If you have children, they aren’t going to win either. Nobody wins everything they want when people get divorced. It’s just not realistic. However, if we focus on your priorities, we keep our eye on the ball, and we make the right decisions, you CAN come out ahead of where you are now.
What to Do If You Are Thinking About Getting Divorced
Do Your Homework
Begin researching and gathering more information about getting a divorce in Illinois. Familiarize yourself with the legal terminology used in divorce cases. Review the process of divorce, and make sure you meet the filing requirements. Avoid making assumptions based on what happened in someone else’s case. While it’s fine to talk to friends or family members about their divorces, never make important decisions based on their experiences.
Choose the Right Divorce Lawyer
Take the time to speak with various divorce attorneys, take a look at their websites, and really get to know them. Ask questions. Get references. You are probably going to be working with your lawyer for quite some time. You will be depending on the attorney to help you make life-altering decisions, navigate the legal system, and possibly even fight for you in court. Don’t depend on someone else’s experience with a lawyer when choosing the best divorce lawyer. The best divorce attorney for your neighbor may not be the right choice for you.
Understand Your Settlement/Litigation Strategy
Speak with your divorce attorney to find out how he or she plans to help you move forward with your case. Review your goals and your priorities, and make sure you understand what steps you need to take to make them happen. Keep in mind that even if your divorce starts out uncontested, it can quickly evolve into a contested divorce. Your lawyer should have a strategy ready for whatever comes your way.
Consider Cost/Benefit Analysis Throughout the Case
Performing a cost/benefit analysis can help you stay focused on what’s most important to you as your case proceeds. When disagreements arise, consider how important it is for you to win the argument. How will you benefit from “winning”? How much will it cost you to duke it out in court? Is it really worth it?
Be Involved in Your Case
The outcome of your case could significantly impact where you live, where your kids live, who makes important decisions about your children and their futures, and your ability to move forward when the marriage is dissolved. With your emotional well-being, the well-being of your children, and your financial future at stake, it’s important to stay involved throughout your case. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Bring up your concerns. Expect to know what’s happening at every phase of your divorce.
What Are the Differences Between a Mediated Divorce, a Collaborative Law Divorce, and a Litigated Divorce?
In the old days, when people in Illinois would get a divorce, they would simply file a petition with the help of a divorce lawyer, and then take their case to court to battle it out. Fortunately, divorcing couples in today’s world may have other options. Many couples find that alternatives, like mediation or collaborative law divorce, are more beneficial to them than having their cases decided by a judge. Other times, however, litigation may be necessary.
Understanding the divorce options that are available to you and your spouse, and discussing them with your divorce attorney, is critical when you’re filing for divorce in Illinois.
In Illinois, some divorcing couples may decide to use a mediator to reach an agreement on all aspects of their divorce, including parenting and financial issues
If you and your spouse decide to give mediation a try, it is crucial that you hire your own divorce attorney to help guide you through the process. Your divorce lawyer can help you understand what to expect, give you legal advice, help you negotiate a fair settlement, and make sure your rights and best interests are protected.
Mediation is designed to help spouses find sustainable solutions to dissolve their marriages amicably, without the need for lengthy (and expensive) court battles. Even if mediation is not effective at resolving all of your disputed issues, it can be used to resolve some issues in your divorce.
During the mediation process, you and your spouse will sit down with a neutral party (mediator), and you’ll discuss the issues at hand. These informal meetings may be held in the mediator’s office or online.
It’s common for mediators to be lawyers, but a law degree is not required. Even when a mediator is a lawyer, however, he or she cannot give legal advice to either side. The mediator will not decide your important family issues for you. Instead, the mediator will use his or her knowledge, training, and skill to help you and your spouse reach a compromise on the issues at hand. Sometimes an agreement may be reached in a single session. Often, multiple sessions are required.
Once you and your spouse reach an agreement with a divorce mediator, you will need to retain a separate lawyer to draft the marital settlement agreement. The agreement will then need to be signed by you and your spouse and submitted to the court for approval. If the judge approves, the courts will issue a final divorce decree.
What Are the Benefits of Mediation in Divorce?
There are many benefits for couples who dissolve their divorces through mediation. These include, but are not limited to:
- Couples maintain more control over the terms of their divorce versus a litigated divorce.
- Mediation is significantly less expensive than li
- tigated divorce.
- The divorce is finalized more quickly.
- There is less stress and emotional trauma when couples choose mediation
Who Should Consider Divorce Mediation?
Mediation is an excellent option for divorcing couples who are looking to minimize divorce costs, are willing to compromise, and do not have a history of domestic violence. If your spouse is already gearing up for a drawn-out court battle, is hiding assets, or has a history of narcissistic or abusive behavior, you may want to hire a divorce attorney of your own, if you haven’t already.
What Happens if Mediation Is Not Successful?
Divorce mediation doesn’t work in every case. If you and your soon-to-be ex cannot reach an agreement with the help of a trained mediator, you will need to proceed in a different direction. In Illinois, your mediator cannot represent you or your spouse in your divorce. As such, you will need to hire a different divorce attorney if you have not already done so. Your divorce attorney will prepare negotiation and litigation strategies, and advise you on how best to move forward.
Collaborative divorce, also known as “collaborative law divorce”, is somewhat similar to a mediated divorce, so the term can be confusing for divorcing couples in Illinois. Collaborative law divorces begin before the divorce petition is filed with the courts.
In collaborative law divorces, both spouses are represented by their own collaborative law attorneys who are trained in this area of law. The lawyers work as a team to help their clients develop the terms of the parenting agreement and marital settlement agreement.
If you and your spouse choose to dissolve your marriage through collaborative divorce, each party and his or her collaborative law attorney will sign a participation agreement pledging to:
- Use collaborative law divorce methods to resolve their disputes.
- Avoid using the courts while the collaborative law proceedings are ongoing.
- Make a good faith effort to work together honestly and with respect to resolve their issues to reflect the best interests of the spouses and any children involved.
- End the process if certain conditions exist.
Once the participation agreement is signed, the construction of your collaborative law team begins. Your collaborative law attorneys will bring in neutral professionals and experts to work with you and your spouse. In addition to the collaborative law attorneys, your collaborative law divorce team might include financial advisors, mental health professionals, divorce coaches, and child specialists.
Your divorce team will hold numerous meetings to identify issues and find solutions that work for you and your family. These private meetings are conducted outside the courtroom and without a court reporter, helping to maintain confidentiality.
After you and your spouse have reached an agreement on all the issues at hand, your collaborative law attorneys will create your marital settlement agreement. The agreement must be signed by both spouses. If you have any questions about any portion of this agreement, or you disagree with the terms, be sure to discuss your concerns with your collaborative law divorce lawyer before you sign. Once the Judge determines that the terms are fair and reasonable, your final divorce decree will be issued.
Collaborative Law Divorce
What Are the Benefits of Collaborative Divorce?
Couples can benefit from collaborative law divorce in various ways.
- Similar to mediation, couples who participate in a collaborative divorce have more control over the terms they must live with in the future.
- Collaborative divorce is more private than a litigated divorce.
- Divorcing amicably is less traumatic for you and your children.
- Even with experts and specialists participating, a collaborative divorce is less expensive than litigation.
Who Should Consider Collaborative Law Divorce?
If you and your spouse want to avoid litigation but you each want to be represented by your own attorney during the divorce negotiations, collaborative divorce might be a great option for you. In a collaborative law divorce, the spouses and attorneys meet and discuss and negotiate the terms of the parenting and financial settlement agreements. A financial neutral and process coach are usually added to the collaborative law divorce team and work to help reach mutually acceptable agreements that are in the family’s best interests.
What Happens if Collaborative Law Divorce Is Not Successful?
If your attempt at a collaborative law divorce is not successful, you will need to file for a contested divorce. Unfortunately, your collaborative law attorney will no longer be able to represent you, and you and your spouse will need to hire different divorce lawyers to complete the dissolution of your marriage. Since your new attorneys will need to familiarize themselves with your case, the duration and cost of your divorce will likely increase.
Many couples plan for a litigated divorce from the beginning. Others face litigation when alternative methods fail. If dissolving your marriage requires litigation, you are going to need to hire an experienced divorce attorney right away. Litigation is the final stage of divorce, and not something you’ll want to manage on your own.
Your divorce lawyer will help you file a petition for divorce with the appropriate court. The petition will include basic information about you and your spouse, and the reasons you are filing for divorce. Since Illinois is a no-fault state when it comes to divorce, you won’t need to discuss or provide proof of marital misconduct.
After the petition is filed, an appointed process server may be used to serve your spouse with divorce papers and notify the court that he or she was served. In a less contested divorce, it may not be necessary to formally serve your spouse. Your spouse will have 30 days to submit a formal response.
Filing the divorce petition places an automatic stay in effect, preventing your spouse from leaving with your children or harassing you. If you are involved in a high-conflict divorce, or you are a victim of domestic violence, temporary orders can be issued to help keep you safe.
If you and your spouse have children, the court will order you to attend co-parenting classes. You will also be required to create a parenting plan for the court’s review. The parenting plan will outline a proposed parenting schedule and the responsibilities of each parent to the children. If you and your spouse cannot agree on a parenting plan, you will be ordered to attend mediation.
If an amicable divorce is not possible, the court will schedule a date for your case to go to trial. You and your spouse can settle your case at any time before or during trial. In fact, most divorce cases never go to trial because couples are able to come to an agreement outside the courtroom.
If your case goes to trial, your divorce attorney will present evidence, call witnesses, and fight on your behalf to protect your rights and the best interests of your children.
Erlich Law Office helped me with exactly what I needed while going through a divorce. Not only was Denise thorough and professional she was compassionate as well. Denise helped me to understand my rights but also to make sure that my long term interests, and the interests of my children, were well protected. Her rates were very reasonable and she was able to connect me to other resources that I was in need of during this very difficult time in my life.
Denise was very helpful in my divorce. After my first meeting with her, I knew she was the lawyer I wanted on my side. She was very calm and personable. She answered any and all of my questions promptly and with great detail.
She not only looked out for myself, but also my children. I would highly recommend Denise while going through a divorce, especially one with children as she cares about their well being.
I can not thank enough for the help Denise provided. I agree with all the review I read online about her. They are all good and accurate ! She follow through the entire process while I was emotional and being very unorganized. She was very kind and spend the time to understand your story and give a lot of good advise. I recommend her with no hesitation!
I hired Denise Erlich for a child support enforcement, and I am sooo glad I did. She has great communication, works tirelessly on your case and most importantly takes it personal! I saw 1st hand how she fought tooth and nail for me at my hearing. So if your looking for a family attorney don’t look any further. Denise Erlich ty for everything!
Denise helped guide me through a very complicated situation while skillfully advising me through my case at every step. We negotiated the best conclusion possible and I am eternally grateful for her help. I hope you never have to hire an attorney for any reason, but if you do, hire Denise!
Let Divorce Attorney Denise Erlich Guide You on the Path to Your Future
Types of Cases Illinois Divorce Lawyer Denise Erlich Handles
Divorce attorney Denise Erlich represents families in Cook County, Will County, DuPage County, and the surrounding counties. Denise handles a wide range of family law matters.