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This article will give you an overview of Illinois divorce law and inform you of any new Illinois divorce laws for 2023, as well as divorce laws that took effect on January 1st, 2022.

This article will give you an overview of Illinois divorce law and inform you of any new Illinois divorce laws for 2023, as well as divorce laws that took effect on January 1st, 2022. The new Illinois laws allow for a party during a divorce proceeding to relocate if it is in the child's best interest. New Illinois law allows for a moving party to seek from the opposing party, a retainer payment so that the moving party can retain an attorney in divorce proceedings. New Illinois law allows for a Court Appointed Special Advocate to act in a minor’s best interests and advocate for a minor where it alleged that the minor has suffered from abuse or neglect.

What is Divorce in Illinois?

In Illinois divorce is where two married people decide that they no longer wish to continue their marital relationship, one spouse files a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage. Whether you are contemplating a divorce with your spouse or have been served with divorce papers it is a good idea to take action and get an attorney to protect you and your rights.

Divorce in Illinois

What Grounds do I need to get a divorce in Illinois?

In Illinois you need grounds to get divorced, you can view grounds as a term that gives you a legal right to get divorced. In Illinois spouses will cite irreconcilable differences as grounds to get divorced. What irreconcilable differences means is that there has been a breakdown of the marital relationship between the spouses and any attempts to fix the marriage have failed and will continue to fail in the future between the spouses and it is not in the spouses or the family as a whole’s best interest to continue the marriage.  

Do I have to live apart from my Spouse for 6 months in order to get divorced in Illinois?

Illinois law under the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act provides that you and your spouse need to be living separate and apart for 6 months in order to get divorced in the state of Illinois.  

You do not necessarily have to live physically separate and apart from your spouse for 6 months in order to get a divorce in Illinois.  

What the meaning of separate and apart depends on, is if the spouses have been living separate lives from each other. This could mean that the spouses live under the same roof but live apart from each other such as the spouses having separate sleeping quarters and that the spouses are no longer physically intimate, basically the spouses have been living apart even if they have been living under the same roof for at least 6 months.

What If I want to fight my Divorce in Illinois because I still love my Spouse?

In Illinois you have every right to fight the divorce proceedings, some spouses want to try and save the marriage even though there are issues present, to do so, you will have to fight the grounds cited in the divorce petition Irreconcilable Differences.  

In this situation you are in an uphill battle, but it is not impossible, you will need to attack that there are irreconcilable differences which are leading to a breakdown of the marriage between the parties. You should not fight a divorce on your own, you should obtain an attorney who can advocate for you, call us at O’Flaherty Law for a consultation as our highly experienced family law attorneys can help navigate you through the difficult Illinois divorce process.

Marital property Illinois divorce

What is Marital Property in Illinois

In the state of Illinois any property that is obtained before marriage by one spouse, any property that is given by a gift individually to a spouse, or any property that is gained through an inheritance individually to a spouse is non-marital property. Non-marital property is property that each spouse owns separately and is not subject to equitable distribution in the state of Illinois. All other property between the spouses that was acquired from the moment of marriage onwards is considered marital property that is subject to equitable distribution, this also includes assets and debts.

Equitable distribution is the term that is used for when marital property is divided amongst the spouses during the divorce proceedings by the court.

What is a Divorce Settlement Agreement?

Both parties to a divorce may agree on the reasons why they want to get divorced, divorce is a stressful process for all parties involved, one of the easiest ways to end a divorce lawsuit is to come to a divorce settlement agreement. A divorce settlement agreement must be approved by the court, it must be reasonable and not unconscionable meaning that the terms of the divorce settlement agreement must be fair to both parties involved, it cannot be unjust, or favor one party unfairly over the other party.

If you can come to an agreement with your spouse, it is a good idea to have your lawyers work out a settlement agreement, which in the long run will save you and your divorcing spouse time and money.

A good divorce settlement will lay out all issues such as the division of property between the spouses, agreements as to assets and debts, issues of alimony or spousal support, child custody child visitation, and child support issues.  

If you cannot come to terms with your divorcing spouse on the relevant issues listed above through a settlement agreement then the judge will decide, a settlement will usually give you more rights then having the judge decide, but if one or more parties cannot agree then the judge’s hand is forced, and he or she will decide all of the issues.  

If you are unrepresented and are doing your divorce yourself Pro Se which means you are representing yourself without an attorney, it is a very good idea to call us at O’Flaherty Law for a consultation as our highly experienced family law attorneys can help navigate you through the difficult Illinois divorce process.  

What is Spousal Support in Illinois?

In Illinois the Court will award what is known as spousal support, formerly known as alimony from one spouse to the other spouse, the goal of alimony is to keep each spouse in a position they would be financially had the divorce not occurred. There are three types of alimony in Illinois:

  • Temporary-This is used in situations where one spouse will be getting back on their feet during and after the divorce, the spouse needing alimony may need educational or vocational training to be able to support themselves and this temporary spousal support helps accomplish that goal.
  • Permanent-This is usually for couples who have a marriage which is longer in duration or where one spouse has relied on the other spouse financially throughout the entire duration of the marriage. This is also used in situations where one spouse is ill, or one spouse in older in age.
  • Lump Sum-This is where one party the paying spouse may pay the other spouse in a lump sum payment for their alimony payment obligation.

Alimony will terminate where there is a substantial change in circumstances that was unforeseen at the initial time of the divorce judgment, where the payee spouse cohabitates with a new partner, and where the payee spouse remarries.

Illinois child support

What is Child Support in Illinois?

In Illinois both parents owe a duty to their minor children to provide financial support to their child or children. The non-custodial parent in Illinois is the parent that will pay child support to the custodial parent.  

The court will balance may factors in determining how much child support the non-custodial parent will pay, here are some of the factors the Court will look at when making a child support obligation:

  • The income of the paying non-custodial parent
  • The number of children the parties have
  • The amount in child support the paying parent has from a previous partner or marriage
  • The amount in spousal support the paying non-custodial parent has the obligation to pay

A child support payment obligation will terminate in Illinois when the child or children reach the age of 18, but if the child is enrolled in high school when they turn the age of 18 the child support obligation will continue until the child graduates from high school and reaches age 19.

Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act Now Allows for Interim Attorney Fees

Under this new Illinois law which goes into effect January 1st, 2022, allows for one party to obtain from the other party money to obtain an attorney, this money will be used for the other party to retain an attorney. The requesting party must have their attorney sign an affidavit which states that the attorney agrees to enter their appearance for the party requesting the attorney if the Court grants the request. The party seeking the attorney must also provide a certificate that the fees will be used solely for the purpose of retaining an attorney to represent them in the Court proceedings.

Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act Now Allows for a Parents Relocation during Divorce Proceedings

Under this new Illinois law which goes into effect January 1st, 2022, one parent may now seek permission from the Court to relocate their residence while a case is pending as long as the relocation of the child would be in the child’s or children’s best interest.

Illinois new Law Requires for Minor Children to Have a Court Appointed Special Advocate

Under this new Illinois Law, which goes into effect January 1st, 2022, in cases where it is alleged that a minor child or children is abused, neglected, or dependent, in Illinois counties with a population of less than three million residents a Court Appointed Special Advocate “CASA” is required to be appointed to advocate for the minor’s child or children’s best interests.

In Illinois counties where the population is three million residents or more a CASA may be appointed if the Court decides to but it is not required. A CASA may not act as a Guardian Ad Litem. A CASA owes duties to the minor child or children such as maintaining constant contact and open communication with the minor child or children.

The CASA must conduct an independent investigation to the case’s facts. The CASA must be trained and educated in the field of child abuse, child neglect, and child dependence. The CASA must attend all court proceedings and advocate always in the child or children’s bests interests. The CASA must submit their factual findings to the court on whether or not the child or children’s best interests are being met.  

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