During the COVID-19 pandemic, our firm is fully operational and we continue to provide family law services for divorce, post-decree, pre and postnuptial, and parentage matters, including collaborative divorce and mediation services. Courts in the Chicago metropolitan area are operating largely through Zoom virtual court proceedings. As always, we continue to provide free initial consultations, which can be performed virtually via Zoom or over the phone. We look forward to serving you soon. -- Lawrence Manassa

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Divorce and Separation Lawyer

divorce and separation

Experienced, Ethical Representation From Highly Respected Legal Separation & Divorce Lawyer

Lawrence discusses the importance of hiring the right attorney in a divorce case:


With offices in Barrington and Crystal Lake, Illinois, the law firm of Manassa Law P.C., provides diligent and accomplished representation in the following areas of family law:

Divorce: We focus our practice on providing our clients with practical advice and sound legal solutions reached through skilled negotiation and renowned trial representation.

Enforcement or modification of divorce judgments: Even the most thorough and well-thought-out divorce decrees may need to be modified later as a result of changing circumstances.

The divorce process: We guide clients through every step of filing for divorce, protecting their rights, finances, relationships and futures.

Fathers’ rights: Combining respectful legal counsel with assertive advocacy, we represent fathers in all areas of divorce and family law.

Military divorce: Our Barrington divorce lawyers provide prompt and professional representation to military personnel and their families in Illinois and overseas.

Annulments: In Illinois, an annulment is termed an “invalid” marriage.

Divorce mediation: Our mission is to facilitate mutually beneficial resolutions while ensuring that the ultimate agreement is in line with our client’s best interests.

Collaborative divorce: While it may not be appropriate for every situation, it is important to understand the option of collaborative divorce before choosing how to proceed in achieving your goals.

Same-sex partnerships: Illinois law and federal law differ in regard to civil unions, sometimes referred to as domestic partnerships or same-sex partnerships.

Legal separation: Some couples prefer legal separation to divorce due to religious beliefs or for tax reasons.

Prenuptial agreements: We help couples draft legally sound and effective prenuptial and postnuptial agreements.

Parentage: We represent both men and women throughout Illinois who are interested in paternity determination or involved in parentage disputes.

Domestic violence: We provide strong, respectful and tenacious advocacy on behalf of those seeking protection from domestic violence and those who are wrongfully charged.

Estate planning: After a divorce, you will need to change your estate planning documents to ensure they are up to date. We can help you review, revise and draft wills, trusts and other key documents.

Legal Requirements for Divorce in Illinois

Understanding the legal process of divorce before you begin can help you avoid common pitfalls that often occur during a divorce. Each state has its own requirements for filing for divorce and Illinois is no different. Having a skilled and experienced Illinois divorce attorney can help you navigate this very difficult and confusing time in your life.

Like most states, Illinois is considered a “no-fault” divorce state. This means that neither person has to be at fault for the breakdown of the marriage. It allows couples who decide to go their separate ways to file for divorce without anyone being at fault or the cause for the divorce. Illinois uses the standard of “irreconcilable differences”. For most people, this simply means that marriage is no longer best for the people involved because the marriage has broken down and cannot be repaired.

How Does the Divorce Process Begin?

The divorce process begins with the filing of a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage. This asks the court to dissolve the marriage and grant a divorce. To file this petition, the parties must show that one of the parties has been a resident in Illinois for at least 90 days prior to filing the petition, and the parties have lived separate and apart for six (6) months.

The requirement of living separate and apart for six (6) months can be met in several ways. First, the parties can live in separate homes for six (6) months. Second, the parties can continue to live together in the same house as long as they are living in separate rooms and are no longer intimate with one another. The parties would act like roommates than a married couple.

Once the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage is filed the divorce process has begun. Having a skilled and experienced Illinois divorce attorney can help you navigate through the complex and confusing process of divorce. It is crucial to have an advocate to help guide you through this difficult and emotionally charged time. Illinois divorce attorneys are here to help you through this process.

Choosing Between Legal Separation And Divorce

A decision to legally separate is quite similar to a decision to divorce. At the end of the day, the only real difference is that both parties are still technically married. Some couples prefer this due to religious beliefs or for tax reasons.

In the absence of a mediated legal separation agreement, the family law courts will make decisions regarding child custodychild supportspousal maintenance and other matters. Although the court cannot make decisions regarding the division of assets without permission from both parties, it can grant one party the right to temporarily remain in the home or use the family car, for instance.

Before a couple decides that filing for legal separation is the most beneficial route, they should consult an experienced Illinois family law lawyer. Legal separation and divorce can have very different effects on government benefits, medical insurance coverage, federal taxes and more.

Requirements for Simple and Uncontested Divorce in Illinois

Illinois provides a simplified way to obtain a divorce known as a Joint Simplified Dissolution of Marriage. The requirements for this type of divorce are as follows:

  • Neither party is financially dependent on the other;
  • One of the parties has been a resident in Illinois for at least 90 days;
  • The parties establish that irreconcilable differences lead to a breakdown of the marriage;
  • No children were born of the marriage;
  • The marriage did not last for more than eight (8) years;
  • Neither party has any interest in real property or retirement benefits unless said benefits are held in an individual retirement account and their combined value is less than $10,000;
  • The parties waive any rights to maintenance, also referred to as spousal support or alimony;
  • The fair market value of all marital property is less than $50,000;
  • The parties’ combined gross income from all sources is less than $60,000;
  • The parties’ individual gross income from all sources is less than $30,000; and
  • The parties have executed a written agreement allocating ownership and responsibility of all assets in excess of $100 and for any companion animals.

If a couple agrees on all aspects of a divorce but do not meet the requirements of a Joint Simplified divorce, the couple can file an uncontested divorce. An uncontested divorce can be more complex than a Joint Simplified divorce because it can include aspects of a divorce that a Joint Simplified divorce does not, such as parenting time, child support, spousal support, and large marital estates.

Although the Joint Simplified divorce and the uncontested divorce may seem like less complex alternatives to traditional divorce, navigating the forms and agreement between the parties may still be a difficult task without a skilled and experienced Illinois divorce attorney.

Barrington Dating And Divorce Attorneys

Now that your marriage is heading for divorce and you and your spouse are separated or estranged, it may seem natural to open yourself up to new sources of companionship. If you find yourself headed for a new relationship with a girlfriend or boyfriend before your divorce has been completed, however, it is wise to consult with a lawyer about issues you should be aware of, such as:

If your wife or husband can demonstrate to a family court that you have dissipated marital assets, a judge may determine that your fair share in a property division order should be lessened. Therefore, you should beware of any opportunity your spouse may have to accuse you of spending marital funds on your boyfriend or girlfriend.

Likewise, if you have entered into a supportive relationship, such as by moving in with a boyfriend or girlfriend, your spouse may use this fact to contend that you have no need for spousal support.

And if your spouse believes that you are modeling immorality for your children, she or he may seek to persuade a family law judge in favor of sole custody. There may also be problems if your spouse alleges that your new partner is a bad influence on your children for reasons such as a history of substance abuse. Your visitation rights could be seriously curtailed if your spouse is successful with these allegations.

Contact Our Barrington Divorce Lawyers Today!

To arrange a free initial consultation with one of our Barrington Separation Lawyers, call The Manassa Divorce + Family Law Group at Kelleher + Holland, LLC, at 847-221-5511, or contact us online.

Divorce and Separation Articles

2 Comments

  1. […] A licensed counselor can help identify patterns in behavior, connect seemingly unrelated moments and coach you through techniques to break unhealthy patterns that may have contributed to your divorce. […]



  2. […] positives and negatives of each school. Who gets to go with them on these college tours? Hopefully, divorced parents have forged a civil relationship through the years. They should find a way to share the […]