The Chicago Family Law Blog

Divorce in Chicago

Divorce is the more common term for the legal dissolution of a marriage. While some states require fault by one of the spouses, adultery for example, Illinois is a “no fault” divorce state. This means the divorcing parties may claim irreconcilable differences as the legal grounds. The state will grant a divorce on such grounds if the spouses have lived apart for at least two years, which can be reduced to six months under certain circumstances. Divorce involves the separation of marital property, custody and financial support of children (if applicable) and alimony.

It is possible to get a divorce without representation of a divorce attorney in Chicago, but is only advised in those rare instances where both spouses are in complete agreement over the terms. The stakes are extremely high, particularly where children are concerned or where one spouse becomes financially vulnerable after the divorce.

Recently in Divorce Category

Looking At Divorce As An Opportunity

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An article in the Toronto Sun highlights some recently divorced celebrities who have weathered the storm relatively well, including Tiger Wood's ex-wife Elin Nordegren. While the title of the story is "When Women are Better Off Divorced," it's not a reference to her 9-figure alimony.

As divorce attorneys in Chicago also may attest, divorce can either crush a newly single woman's will or provide an opportunity to recharge and embrace her new life. Elin Nordegren, who told People Magazine she feels "stronger than [she] ever has," said she first went through the stages of grief following Tiger Woods' reported infidelity.

Saul Hudson, who most people know as "Slash," filed for divorce from wife Perla Ferrar after nearly nine years of marriage, according to celebrity gossip site TMZ. The couple was married in October 2001 and separated on July 15 of this year.

TMZ cited unnamed sources as saying the breakup is "extremely acrimonious" and teased the story with the statement "it's gonna get ugly," but the relatively bland boilerplate language on court documents doesn't reveal much (PDF).

Play Ball: Dodgers Ownership At Stake As McCourt Divorce Begins

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Major League Baseball's Los Angeles Dodgers may be having a lackluster year even though the team is shouldering a hefty $95.4 million team payroll (10th highest in the league according to ESPN). But the biggest liability for the Dodgers may be the bitter divorce of its co-owners, Jamie and Frank McCourt.

Accusations and insults have been flowing from both sides of the dispute for a while; but USA Today and other news sources reported that the McCourt divorce has only just now begun. And since both parties claim ownership of the storied baseball franchise, the couple's divorce may hold sway over its future.

The Dodgers organization is valued between $750 million and $1.5 billion, a fortune unheard of to most Chicago family law attorneys with respect to marital property.

Actor Michael Douglas and ex-wife Diandra Douglas ended their marriage a decade ago. But a follow-up to the popular 1980s film "Wall Street" appropriately titled "Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps" has prompted them to lawyer-up once again, the BBC reported.

Diandra is seeking half the earnings from the forthcoming film, which reprises the role of greedy antihero Gordon Gekko. She claims a clause in their divorce settlement entitles her to a portion of earnings from "spin-offs" of his films. But is the film is a "spin-off" or, as attorneys for Michael Douglas claim, merely a sequel?

This is a unique case rooted in entertainment law, but a divorce attorney in Chicago could better explain how an Illinois court would interpret such language.

Divorce Attorney: Tiger Woods Overpaid Elin Nordegren

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First let's set aside rumors that Elin Nordegren secured a divorce settlement from Tiger Woods for the astronomical sum of $700 million; it actually was closer to the still-high amount of $100 million (based on estimates). Still, some attorneys say even that much was way too much, a CBS News article reported. 

I'm sure plenty of Chicago family law attorneys have their own opinions but one divorce attorney, Raoul Felder, said he believes Elin Nordegren made off like a bandit.

He said the high settlement (which he believes is too high) can be attributable to Tiger Woods' desperate situation at the time and lack of public support. The real settlement amount, which he believes was somewhere between $100 million and $500 million, is confidential:

Joe and Katherine Jackson Divorcing

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The Daily Mail reported on a as-of-yet unsubstantiated rumor that the parents of the late "King of Pop" Michael Jackson, Joe and Katherine Jackson, are divorced after 60 years of marriage. They were separated in 2005 and have been living apart ever since but Katherine Jackson allegedly said she has had enough of his reportedly cruel ways.

A history of emotional or physical spousal abuse usually doesn't help the case of that individual in a divorce proceeding. Chicago family law attorneys could better explain how such allegations might play out in their divorce (if it indeed is in the works). 

Ohio man Maurice Lyons was apprehended and charge with aggravated murder after he allegedly stabbed wife Tonya Hunter 17 times, took her car and left her 4-year-old son on the side of the road, CBS News reported. The victim was a marriage counselor but tragically didn't realize her own marriage problems until it was too late.

This just shows how hard it can be for domestic violence victims to face reality and leave their abusers. Violent spouses rarely if ever change; so you may want to consult with a divorce attorney in Chicago if you feel threatened by your partner.

Maurice Lyons is in jail on $8 million bond. He faces the death penalty; although his criminal defense attorney argues that his client has psychiatric problems.

Linda Hogan, Hulk Hogan's Ex, Is Engaged To Charlie Hill

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It's not even worth mentioning anymore when older men date or even marry women less than half their age (Playboy founder Hugh Hefner's penchant for barely legal girlfriends is a prime example). But for some reason we still find it outrageous when older women, also known as "cougars," hook up with much-younger men.

Recent cougar news involves 50-year-old Linda Hogan's engagement to 21-year-old bleach-blonde Charlie Hill, according to celebrity gossip and news site Linda Hogan's claim to fame is her former marriage to retired professional wrestler Hulk Hogan; the couple has a daughter who is one year older than Linda Hogan's new beau.

Successful and well-known architect Lucien Lagrange worked alongside wife Jessica Lagrange, who ran her own interior design practice, until he filed for divorce last October, as reported by the Sun-Times. But his recent Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing, which throws a financial monkey wrench into the divorce proceedings, has made his estranged wife very suspicious.

His firm, Lagrange Architects Ltd., cites debts between $1 million and $10 million and assets in the same general range. He claims a lack new contracts and unpaid commission for work in Saudi Arabia have led him to bankruptcy.

But Eunice Ward, Jessica Lagrange's divorce attorney in Chicago, said the bankruptcy filing was a complete surprise for her and her client. She said they are "investigating the filing" and what impact it will have on the divorced proceedings.

Kelsey Grammer Denies Divorce-Fueled Rumors

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Kelsey Grammer and estranged wife Camille Donatacci have cited "irreconcilable differences" as the reason for their divorce. But that hasn't stopped the gossip columnists from speculating about the reasons for the split, according the New York Daily News. The couple is calling it quits after 13 years of marriage.

The former "Frasier" and "Cheers" star said the marriage failed simply because there were "a few things" the couple was unable to work out. Although it appears that the rumors are just rumors, Chicago family law attorneys would tell you the real reasons for a divorce impact decisions such as alimony and child custody.