A recent case decided by the First District Appellate Court of Illinois, In Re Marriage of Wade, concerns Miami Heat star Dwyane Wade who as a result of the decision, won a rare bifurcated divorce. Generally speaking it is very difficult to obtain a bifurcated divorce in Illinois; in other words, a case where the divorce has been officially granted when there are still pending issues between the parties. Complications can arise if one party dies or remarries in the interim. While the caselaw used the term "appropriate circumstances" which is in the applicable statute, quite often life or death types of situations are required to obtain the bifurcation. In Wade's case the Appellate Court held for the first time that a bifurcation could be obtained when it is in the best interest of the children. The reasoning in this case was that the wife had changed lawyers many times and otherwise delayed the proceedings. Here the trial court felt that it would be beneficial to the children to at least have the divorce issue settled. I have to wonder how much sense that really makes, because usually the divorce itself is not a significant issue. In Illinois who is getting the divorce and why, does not affect financial issues. It was a big victory for Dwyane Wade because shortly after the divorce was entered, he signed a huge contract with the Heat. Query, though, whether his contract signed after the divorce was final, should lack any marital property treatment whatsoever. Although the services will all be rendered post-divorce, certainly it can be argued that marital efforts contributed to the value of the contract? Perhaps that will be the subject of the next round of litigation! Paul L. Feinstein Paul L. Feinstein, Ltd.10 South LaSalle Street, Suite 1420 Chicago, Illinois 60603-1078 Phone 312-346-6392 Fax 312-346-0810 PFeinlaw@aol.com Matrimonial Trials and Appeals since 1980 Fellow of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers since 1991Martindale-Hubbell AV Rated
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