Divorce & Family Law
Illinois is a “no fault” divorce state meaning that one spouse need only to state that the marriage cannot be saved to file for divorce. Even though a divorce is an emotional matter it must be approached in a rational way so as to avoid further conflict or hardship. By working with an experienced attorney you are equipped to move forward if the divorce is contested. There is no one way to go about dissolving a marriage. Going to court is an option but there is always the possibility of collaborative family law.
Child Custody and Visitation
One of the most contentious and sensitive disputes is child custody and visitation. Both spouses tend to have their children’s ‘best interests’ at heart but usually those ‘best interests’ aren’t the same. Attorneys assist you with the allocation of parental responsibilities. There are two different types of allocation: allocation of ‘parenting time’ meaning the time the child is physically with one spouse and the allocation of ‘parental decision-making’ which includes four major areas: health, education, religion, and extracurricular activities. Certain factors that go into allocation include proximity, work schedules, and prior involvement.
Maintenance and Alimony
Maintenance, frequently referred to as alimony, is money a spouse pays, by court order, to the other spouse for financial support. The four different types include: ‘permanent’ which is paid until the death of the payer or the remarriage/co-habitation of the recipient, ‘lump sum’ which entails one payment instead of recurrent, ‘temporary’ which is paid over a specific period of time, and ‘rehabilitative’ which is paid until the recipient can fully self-support. Some factors considered in court ordered maintenance include age, earning capabilities, contribution as a homemaker, investment in education or business, parenting provisions, and length of marriage.
Property disputes tend to be more difficult than spouses realize because a lot of property can be acquired during a marriage, whether long or short. Some property that might need to be divided include: financial assets, retirement funds such as 401(k) and pensions, businesses owned including accounts receivable and property, home or other actual property, investments, and meaningful belongings.
Illinois has standard guidelines for child support but there are various reasons a situation might deviate from those guidelines. Child custody and parental-decision making are key factors in determining how your situation might be dissimilar. In addition, there are several economic factors that could necessitate a modification of orders such as a fixed rate of child support that is no longer sufficient for increased expenses.
Enforcement and Modification of Orders
All these settlements can come to change over time because of innumerable external factors which might require a modification of orders. In addition, these orders might not be followed properly by a spouse and, therefore, an enforcement of orders might be necessary