Commonly Asked Questions About Divorce in Illinois

How much does a family law case cost and how many issues are presented?

The cost of the family law case is directly related to how much the parties disagree. Some cases are more complicated than others, but the parties ability to come to an agreement on issues is what drives the cost among other variables.

I was granted sole custody of my child, can I move out of state?

You will need a court order to move out of state. It is the burden on the person moving to prove it is in the child’s best interest to move. The court considers: the children’s interest in stability and continuity in the custodial arrangement, the distance of the move The age of the children and the children’s relationship with both parents, the relationship between the parents including, but not limited to, their ability to communicate and cooperate effectively and their willingness to put the interests of the children above their individual interests, the wishes of the children if they are mature enough for such an inquiry to be appropriate, and how the parents and child would benefit from the move. Consult one of our lawyers for more specifics.

What is the definition of physical custody?

Physical custody refers to where a child lives and who has responsibility for supervising the child. When an award of joint physical custody is made, the child will live substantial amounts of time with each parent. Illinois does not currently establish a preference or a presumption for or against joint custody arrangements. When sole physical custody is awarded to one parent the other parent is usually awarded visitation rights, unless it would not be in the “best interests of the child.” When the visiting parent could place the child’s safety or well-being at risk, the judge may order supervised visits. A judge may award sole physical custody to one parent, and joint legal custody to both. This means that the child will spend most of his or her time with one parent, and both parents will share in making important decisions about the child’s life. The judge may order supervised visitation.

What is the definition of legal custody?

Legal custody is the right to make decisions on parenting issues such as medical care, education and religious training. Legal custody may be joint or sole. If the parents have been awarded joint custody, decisions must be shared unless otherwise ordered by the Court.

How much is child support?

It is based on someone’s net income (after taxes, health insurance and some other deductions). The amount is 20% for one child, 28% for two, and 32% for 3. Child Support is generally capped at 50% of someone’s net income. Child support is calculated differently if maintenance is being paid and/or the parties share equal time with the children. Illinois is moving towards a time and income share approach to child support in the next year or two if approved by the State Legislature.

What will I owe or receive in maintenance/spousal support?

Illinois has a new statute which takes effect January 1, 2015. If the parties cannot agree, then the court will need to first determine if maintenance is appropriate based on many factors. For couples with a combined income of less than $250,000 and no multiple family situation exists there is formula. It’s unclear whether judges will follow this formula regularly or not. The amount of maintenance is calculated by taking 30% of the payor’s gross income minus 20% of the payee’s gross income. The amount calculated as maintenance, however, when added to the gross income of the payee, may not result in the payee receiving an amount that is in excess of 40% of the combined gross income of the parties. If a party is paying maintenance, that is a statutory deduction when calculating child support.

The duration of the award shall be calculated by multiplying the length of the marriage by whichever of the following factors applies: 0-5 (.20); 5-10 (.40); 10-15 (.60); or 15-20 (.80). For a marriage of 20 or more years, the court, in its discretion shall order permanent maintenance.

How is marital property divided in Illinois?

Unless there is a written agreement (or oral agreement made in court) between the spouses, the court will take into consideration many factors. Property is divided equally in many cases, but an unequal division can also be warranted. Some reasons would be if a party has substantial non-marital, the court may award more marital property to the other spouse. Contribution to the marital estate is also a factor. Age, health and income are other factors.

What is the difference between divorce and legal separation in Illinois?

The ending of a marriage is a “dissolution of marriage” and is commonly referred to as a divorce. It ends a marriage and allows the parties to marry again; a legal separation does not. In both divorce and legal separation cases, the parties may request orders for child and/or spousal support, custody and visitation, domestic violence restraining orders, etc. Legal separation may be preferable for couples wishing for a legal separation to live apart and not decide all the issues in their case except for some.

What are the grounds for divorce in Illinois?

The most common grounds for divorce are “irreconcilable differences.” Irreconcilable differences are sincere, permanent differences between the spouses that have lead to a breakdown in the marriage. To put it simply: it takes two to marry and only one to divorce. Only one spouse needs to state that irreconcilable differences exist. The other spouse cannot prevent the divorce even if he or she feels the marriage can be saved. In Illinois, divorces are “no-fault.” No one spouse can be financially punished for the breakdown of the marriage. Other grounds are available like mental cruelty and

What are the grounds for having a marriage annulled?

One of the parties was a minor at the time of marriage. There was a prior existing marriage. One of the parties was of unsound mind unless the party of unsound mind after coming to reason chose to remain as husband and wife. One of the parties was physically incapable of having children or sex and hid that fact from other party. As you can see annulments are very rare due to the specific grounds needed.