Chicago, IL Divorce Lawyers

The breakdown of a marriage is usually one of the most difficult and painful experiences in a person’s life. In addition to the often highly emotional aspects of separation and divorce, there are many important legal and financial issues to consider. At Motta & Motta LLC, we respect the sensitive and difficult circumstances that bring you to us in matters of marriage dissolution.

We work closely with our clients to achieve the best possible result in all divorce actions, as well as to enforce the provisions of their divorce decree. The dissolution process may seem daunting, but actually can be very straightforward – many of the rules reflect common sense and fairness.

Protecting our Client’s Property and Rights

We will take the time to listen to you, provide an objective assessment of your situation, and provide you with legal advice based on our expertise representing clients under Illinois divorce laws.

We will then work with you to assure that all of your legal interests are fully protected. After the consultation, if you decide to proceed with dissolution of your marriage, your divorce lawyer at Motta & Motta, LLC will represent you throughout the divorce process.

Motta & Motta LLC divorce attorneys are experienced in handling all divorce-related issues, including maintenance, property distribution, and tax issues raised by a divorce.

We also provide representation in all types of post-divorce actions, such as dissolution decree modification actions, enforcement and contempt cases, or child custody modification actions.

High Net Worth Divorce

Protecting your business and personal interests will be an important factor in your final settlement or judgment. Our client’s financial interests is one of our foremost concerns, especially in cases involving contested property settlement litigation. Contact the divorce attorneys at Motta & Motta to discuss your high net worth/high asset divorce and the complex financial issues relating to valuation and equitable distribution of marital property, and the protection of your non-marital assets.

We have experience handling complex property litigation and settlement issues involving:

  • Valuation of business assets
  • Protecting professional practices
  • Protecting investments in divorce
  • Complex property division
  • Uncovering hidden assets
  • QDROs, pension valuation
  • House, real estate valuation
  • Finance, tax and debt issues
  • Settlements and litigation involving pre-nuptial agreements
  • High income child support obligations, maintenance, and alimony

With so much at stake in high net worth divorces, it is very important that your high net worth divorce attorneys tailor their representation to address your specific needs so that unnecessary funds are not wasted through an unfocused legal process. We are detail oriented and understand that focusing on the financial details of your high asset case is the best way to put forth an aggressive high net worth divorce case while shielding as many of your assets as possible.

Civil Union Dissolution

Under the Illinois Religious Freedom Protection and Civil Union Act, unrelated adults of any sexual orientation who are at least 18 years of age are able to enter into a civil union dissolution case. The status of a civil union is equal to that of a marriage, with some exceptions. Just as a marriage between a husband and wife can sometimes end in divorce, so can a civil union between same-sex partners and non-traditional, heterosexual couples, end in dissolution.

The state of Illinois does not recognize same-sex marriages. Many people throughout the state have thus chosen to enter into a civil union, which offers many, but not all, of the same rights to same-sex partners as a marriage does. Individuals in a civil union may be able to:

  • Visit each other in the hospital and make emergency medical decisions
  • Share a health insurance plan
  • Be granted time off for a family emergency
  • Be granted control over the remains of the partner

Civil union dissolution also protects couples on an individual level in the event that the couple would like to end their relationship. For instance, if a couple who has a civil union has purchased property together, there is an opportunity for assets to be distributed fairly with the civil union dissolution. In providing legal terms for the dissolution of a civil union under existing laws, the state of Illinois has created an additional way for individuals’ rights to be protected through civil unions dissolution agreements.

Legal Separation

People often mistakenly think that they are “legally separated” if they live in separate residences. However, in order to be legally separated in Illinois, a court must approve the legal separation and enter a court order to that effect. In essence, a legal separation is when a married couple separates and seeks a court order (Legal Separation Judgment) setting forth each parties rights and obligations but does not file for divorce.

Legal separation judgments can address spousal support, child custody, visitation, and property ownership. Couples who are legally separate remain married unless they later choose to file for divorce. If a spouse desires a trial separation and not a divorce, a legal separation is a vehicle to provide that spouse with support during the separation.

Whether you are considering a legal separation or divorce, our law firm can provide you with dedicated representation at every step.

Alimony & Maintenance

Maintenance was previously called alimony. It is financial support, in the form of period payments, paid to one’s spouse or former spouse. Maintenance is completely separate and distinguished from child support, which is support paid towards the support of the children. Maintenance will always vary from case to case, even judge to judge, and can be very difficult to procure. For that reason, it is of the utmost importance for your attorney to have significant experience in handling divorce and post-divorce cases.

There are 12 factors Illinois Circuit Courts must consider when determining divorce maintenance:

  1. The income & property of each party, including marital property apportioned and non marital property assigned to the party seeking maintenance;
  2. The needs of each party;
  3. The present and future earning capacity of each party;
  4. Any impairment of the present and future earning capacity of the party seeking maintenance due to that party devoting time to domestic duties or having foregone or delayed education, training, employment, or career opportunities due to the marriage;
  5. The time necessary to enable the party seeking maintenance to acquire appropriate education, training, and employment, and whether that party is able to support himself or herself through appropriate employment or is the custodian of a child making it appropriate that the custodian not seek employment;
  6. The standard of living established during the marriage;
  7. The duration of the marriage;
  8. The age and physical and emotional condition of both parties;
  9. The tax consequences of the property division upon the respective economic circumstances of the parties;
  10. Contributions and services by the party seeking maintenance to the education, training, career or career potential, or license of the other spouse;
  11. Any valid agreement of the parties; and
  12. Any other factor that the court expressly finds to be just and equitable.
Property Distribution

When dividing property in a divorce, the court must first determine if the property is marital or nonmarital. If the property is determined to be non-marital, the court has no authority to award any portion of the property to the other spouse. If the property is determined to be marital then the court must “equitably” divide the property.

Generally speaking, all property acquired by either spouse after the marriage is presumed to be marital property with the following exceptions:

  1. Property acquired by gift, legacy, or descent.
  2. Property acquired in exchange for property acquired before the marriage or in exchange for property acquired by gift, legacy, or descent.
  3. Property acquired by a spouse after a Judgment of Legal Separation.
  4. Property excluded by valid agreement of the parties.
  5. Any judgment or property obtained by judgment awarded to a spouse from the other spouse.
  6. Property acquired before the marriage.
  7. Increases in value acquired by any method listed above.
  8. Income from property acquired by any method listed above.

The classification of property as marital or nonmarital is often complicated, particularly when marital and non-marital property are combined. If the court determines that property is marital, the court must then determine how to “equitably” distribute the property. Illinois is not a “community property” state; there is no “50/50” law. “Equitable” often does not mean equal.

When dividing the marital property, an Illinois court is required to consider the following:

  1. The contribution of each party to the acquisition, preservation, or increase or decrease in value of the marital or nonmarital property, including the contribution of a spouse as a homemaker or to the family unit.
  2. The dissipation by each spouse of the marital or nonmarital property.
  3. The value of the property assigned to each spouse.
  4. The duration of the marriage.
  5. The relevant economic circumstances of each spouse when the division of property is to become effective, including the desirability of awarding the family home, or the right to live therein for reasonable periods, to the spouse having custody of the children.
  6. Any obligation and rights arising from a prior marriage of either party.
  7. Any prenuptial agreement of the parties.
  8. The age, health, station, occupation, amount and sources of income, vocational skills, employability, estate, liabilities, and needs of each of the parties.
  9. The custodial provisions for any children.
  10. Whether the apportionment is in lieu of or in addition to maintenance.
  11. The reasonable opportunity of each spouse for future acquisition of capital assets and income, the tax consequences of the property division upon the respective economic circumstances of the parties.

The above factors are not equally weighted which can make the property distribution even more complicated. Given the property identification issues, the numerous factors and exceptions, and the discretion that the court has in applying the factors and making an “equitable” distribution, you can see why there are so many myths and misconceptions.


Whether you are going through a divorce, child custody case, or other family law related matter, it is vital for you to have an experienced attorney on your side.

The family law attorneys of Motta & Motta LLC will rigorously fight for your rights in family law court. With our attorneys on your side, you will have one less thing to worry about during this difficult time.

Fill out the form to receive your free case evaluation and one of our team members will be in touch with you as soon as possible.

If you need to speak with an attorney now, please give us a call at our Chicago or Aurora, IL office to discuss the specifics of your case and what courses of action may be available to you.

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