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Family Law

Bolingbrook Family Law Attorneys

Pursuing or defending a divorce can be a stressful time in someone’s life. It is important to seek legal advice in the early stages of the process.  Each case is different, and our attorneys can help you navigate the particulars of your circumstance.  Below is some general information to help answer some basic questions.

Initiating the Divorce Process

You have finally decided you want to divorce your spouse. Now what? The divorce process starts with the filing of a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage in the court of your county of residence along with summons to be issued for service of your spouse. Once your petition and the summons are approved by the court, your spouse will need to be served with the court documents. Service can be done through a licensed private investigator or through the Court’s Sheriff Department. After service, your spouse will typically have 30 days to file her appearance.
Because Illinois is a “no-fault State”, which means when parties decide to divorce neither of the spouses is “at-fault”, you do not need to state the reasons why you have decided to divorce your spouse in the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage.  But you do need to state other information including identifying information, financial and property information, number and ages of children,  and other details.  The court will automatically generate a court date within 90 days of the filing of the petition. This will be the first time you will see the Judge in your case if there are no emergency issues that need to be presented before then.
If there are no children, the marriage or civil union is no longer than 8 years, the spouses make less than $30,000 per year and do not possess more than $50,000 in real estate property (among other requirements), you may be eligible for a simplified divorce process.  If not, the next step in a divorce is financial discovery.

Financial Discovery

As part of the divorce process, regardless of whether or not the parties have children, both parties will need to disclose their current financial situation, and, in some cases, their past financial information will also have to be exchanged. For this, the parties will need to fill out and a form called “Financial Affidavit” and exchange it with the other party, along with supporting financial documents.
In some cases, the parties will need to discover additional financial information as part of the divorce process through subpoenas, interrogatories, depositions, or other discovery devices.

“Spousal Support” or Maintenance (Alimony)

If one of the spouses lacks sufficient income to support him or herself, or there is significant disparity between the spouses incomes, a judge can order the spouse who earns more income to support the “less-earning” spouse. Some of the factors evaluated by the judge when determining if Maintenance (previously called alimony) should be awarded include: the duration of the marriage, the income and property of each party, age, physical and emotional problems, and the standard of living established during the marriage. The amount of the maintenance award will vary based on the income and length of the marriage.

Child Support

Under the new Illinois child support law that went into effect in 2017, both parents’ incomes are considered when calculating support. Thus, child support is calculated based on the combined net incomes of both parents. The old method of using flat percentages based on the number of children is no longer used. Instead, child support is now calculated as follows:

  1. Determine each parent’s “net income” by running their gross incomes through a gross to net conversion chart.
  2. Combine both parents’ net incomes to determine the combined net income.
  3. Determine what percentages of the combined net income is represented by each parent’s net incomes.
  4. The combined net income from step 2 will be plugged into an income shares chart to determine the basic child support obligation.
  5. Multiply the resulting number from step 4 with the percentages from step 3, for each parent.

The resulting numbers are each parent’s child support obligations. The number for the non-paying parent, typically the parent with the majority of parenting time, will be presumed to already be applied to the child. The number for the paying parent will be that parent’s child support obligation and must be paid to the non-paying parent.

Under the new income-shares model, Illinois courts consider that the typical costs to raise a child for a family should resemble the income level that would have been in place had the parents involved in each case stayed together. Accordingly, if each parent is working and earning income, both sets of income are added together to arrive at the amount necessary to raise the child(ren).  In considering the costs of raising a child or children, Illinois courts will take into account the cost of housing, clothes, food, transportation, ordinary uncovered medical expenses, ordinary extracurricular activities, entertainment and education. Judges are also free to consider any other extraordinary circumstances in setting support.

Other Remedies

During the pendency of the divorce process there might be additional remedies available to the parties including the exclusive possession of the marital home, supervised parenting time, return of personal belongings, contribution to attorney’s fees and expenses, orders of protection, rules to show cause for contempt of court orders and abuse of parenting time petitions, among other remedies. It is important that any request for remedy is filed in a timely manner and notice is served on the opposing party.

Questions about Family Law? We Can Help.

If you are facing a divorce or other family law situation, having experienced counsel on your side can have a big impact on how your case turns out. Protect your family, finances and future; talk to one of the experienced family law attorneys at Giamanco Law Partners today.

Call 630.635.5555 or contact us online today.