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. Many cases take several months if the parties have issues they cannot resolve themselves or after some negotiation.

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 us for more specifics.

What is the definition of physical custody?

Physical custody refers to where a child lives and who has responsibility for supervising that child at that time. Illinois has abolished the word custody in favor of the term “Allocation of Parental Responsibility. The substance has not changed much.

What is the definition of parenting time or visitation?

The terms mean the same thing, but Illinois uses the word parenting time. Parenting time is time allocated to you with the child(ren). That time is yours and you can do generally what you want with the time unless the court restricts how you can exercise your parenting time. Restricted parenting time only occurs if a serious endangerment has been proved. Restricts are not common in most cases.

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. Illinois is abolished the word custody in favor of the term “Allocation of Parental Responsibility.” The substance has not changed much.

How much is child support?

Illinois uses the “Income Share Model.” Child support is calculated by looking at both parties’ gross annual incomes. If you have 146 overnights with the child, this will reduce the child support paid by a small amount. Equal parenting time will further reduce the child support paid. Consult us for an exact calculation. Medical, educational, daycare and extra-curricular activities are paid separately from child support and both parties will be obligated to pay a portion of these expenses.

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 $500,000 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 generally 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. Legal Separation is very uncommon and may not exist much longer.

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 led 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.

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.