Staci Balbirer Publishes "Why the Date We File a Petition For Dissolution of Marriage Just Became Important"


Aronberg Goldgehn Family Law Attorney Staci Balbirer has published “Why the date we file a petition for dissolution of marriage just became important” in the May 2016 edition of the Illinois State Bar Association’s Family Law Section Newsletter.

Prior to January 1, 2016, the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage was talked about because it commenced an action for divorce. “When counseling our clients about filing their Petitions,” Staci writes, “it was important who filed first for purposes of venue and that the residency requirement had or would be met within 90 days. Beyond that, the date a Petition was filed had very little significance to the ultimate outcome of a case. Welcome to 2016.”

In the article, Staci explains why the date the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage is filed has become significant. The amendment to the maintenance statute now states that “The duration of an award under this paragraph (1) shall be calculated by multiplying the length of the marriage at the time the action was commenced…” Waiting a few months, weeks or days to file a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage for cases that fall under the maintenance statute can potentially be the difference in how many YEARS of maintenance a party receives, or, that a party will have to pay.

Staci also writes that “the date of filing has potential to rear its head in how we value and ultimately divide marital and non-marital assets.” The court, in determining the value of the marital and non-marital property for purposes of dividing the property, has the discretion to use the date of the trial or such other date as agreed upon by the parties, or ordered by the court within its discretion, for purposes of determining the value of assets or property.

Staci also notes that case law has gone one step further to state, “Thus, for purposes of equitable distribution, the value of marital property is the value of the property at the time of the commencement of the marital litigation.”

Her article concludes by saying that “the date we file a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage is no longer arbitrary. Clients need to understand that there can be a financially beneficial time to file for divorce, or to the contrary, to stay married.”

To read the entire article, please CLICK HERE.

About Staci Balbirer

Staci Balbirer concentrates her practice in the area of divorce and family law with a special focus on assisting families with special needs children.

She has lectured on and authored about family law matters, including most recently before the Northwest Suburban Bar Association on the topic of "How to Calculate Support for Adult Children with Special Needs." In addition to the above article, she has co-authored “The Difficulty in Understanding and Applying Section 5/513(a)(1) of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act,” which was published in the Illinois State Bar Association Family Law Newsletter.

In April, Staci was appointed as a new member of the ISBA’s Standing Committee on Women and the Law for the 2016-17 bar year. The Committee on Women and the Law focuses on areas of law uniquely affecting women and provides a forum to discuss and implement women’s unmet legal needs and issues.

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