Disclaimer: The information you obtain at this site is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation. We invite you to contact us and welcome your calls, letters and electronic mail. Contacting us does not create an attorney-client relationship. Please do not send any confidential information to us until an attorney-client relationship has been established.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
- Does my spouse’s behavior affect the case?
- Will the court give me spousal support (maintenance)?
- Will I receive child support?
- Why do courts appoint child representatives?
- Can I keep the house?
- My spouse and I are separated. Can I date?
- Can I move with the children?
- Can I leave my child at home for remote learning during the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic?
- How will our property be divided?
- How long will my divorce take?
Q: Does my spouse’s behavior affect the case?
A: The law was changed to eliminate fault grounds for divorce. Poor behavior cannot be considered by the court in how it divides property or awards maintenance or child support.
However, in limited circumstances, poor behavior can be a factor in the allocation of parenting responsibility and establishing a claim for waste of marital funds (dissipation).
Q: Will the court give me spousal support (maintenance)?
A: Whether a court awards maintenance will in large part be based on the inability of one spouse to provide for their own support. Sacrificing a career to advance the other spouse’s career is a common reason maintenance is granted.
This issue is very dependent on the facts of each case. For an analysis of your unique circumstances, contact our office for a consultation.
Q: Will I receive child support?
A: Usually, the parent who is awarded the majority of the parenting time will receive child support from the other parent. Even if both parents work full time, support will be awarded.
Many factors can impact whether child support will be awarded, and each case is unique. For an answer tailored to your unique circumstance, contact our office for consultation.
A: A child representative is typically appointed by the judge when parents cannot agree on a parenting schedule, how decisions will be made, or both. The child representative is typically an experienced attorney with knowledge of divorce law and an understanding of how agreements are formed in instances of parenting disputes.
In most cases the parents will have to pay the child representative and the court will typically set the retainer amount and hourly rate at the time of appointment. The job of the child representative will be to help the parents and their attorneys resolve disputes by investigating and making recommendations. In really difficult cases they can advocate for the child(ren) with the same powers and obligations an attorney for the parents has.
Q: Why do courts appoint child representatives?
Q: Can I keep the house?
A: The most important factor in determining whether one spouse can keep the house is whether the other spouse can be removed from the mortgage. Refinancing and payoff are the most common ways to do so.
Assuming mortgage release is possible, the second critical question is whether keeping the house is financially beneficial. We work with mortgage and real estate brokers, as well as financial advisors, to help our clients make the wisest decisions possible, given their goals.
Q: My spouse and I are separated. Can I date?
A: Courts generally do not care whether you start a new relationship, provided it is not proving harmful to the child(ren) and you are not spending marital resources on your new friend. The main consideration is how, or to what extent, it will impact the resolution of your case.
Q: Can I move with the children?
A: The Illinois legislature recently gave divorcing parents some additional guidance on this topic. Simply stated, if the contemplated move is farther that 25 miles, the answer is no unless the other parent agrees or the court allows it.
However, for cases in which there is no order allocating parenting time, or a case has not been filed yet, there is no authority forbidding such an action.
This is a difficult area of family law and the source of much disagreement. Contact our office for a consultation. We can explain the law and help minimize the discord associated with moves.
Q: Can I leave my child at home for remote learning during the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic?
A: Many schools are not offering in-person learning and require the children to appear for remote learning. This causes a significant problem for parents who must work and cannot be home to supervise the child. Illinois law does not allow parents to leave children under 14 years old home alone for an unreasonable amount of time.
If a parent who has responsibility for a child leaves that child home alone, the other parent can use the indiscretion as an opportunity to create or change parenting schedules, create or modify parenting responsibilities and even file claims for child endangerment.
Addressing this before problems arise is the wisest course. Ask for the other parent’s participation in daily supervision. If that is not an option, the parents can agree to hire daycare professionals or tutors to supervise the child. In worst-case scenarios, assuming no agreements are reached, a parent can ask a court to provide an answer. Even if you think your child is mature enough to be home alone, contact our office to discuss your options.
Q: How will our property be divided?
A: Unless the parties come to an agreement as to the division of assets, in what is known as a Marital Settlement Agreement, a court will decide how marital assets and debts shall be allocated. Illinois divorce courts follow a theory of “equitable distribution” when dividing marital property and debts. This does not necessarily mean that property will be divided 50/50; rather, the division should be fair and equitable.
A court will consider many factors in determining how to allocate assets, some of which include each party’s contribution to the marital estate, the duration of the marriage, any dissipation by each party, value of the property, whether an allocation of property is in lieu of maintenance, as well as the age, health, income, liabilities, and vocation of each party. For an in-depth analysis of your unique situation, contact our office for a consultation.
Q: How long will my divorce take?
A: How long the divorce process takes is dictated mainly by how many issues are contested between you and your spouse.
If you have an agreement with your spouse as to issues of allocation of parental responsibility and parenting time, child support, maintenance, division of marital assets and liabilities, and the like, and both a Marital Settlement Agreement and Parenting Allocation Judgment are drawn up, the case may be concluded within a couple of months, subject to the court’s availability.
However, if you and your spouse are not in agreement as to any of the previously mentioned topics, the matter may require court-ordered mediation as to parenting issues, filing of motions, scheduling hearings and pre-trials, and may result in trial if the case is not settled. Contested cases may take more than a year.