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Temporary Relief Petitions in Illinois During Divorce

Article written by Illinois & Iowa Attorney Kevin O'Flaherty
Updated on
October 28, 2019

In this article, we will answer common questions about temporary relief petitions while getting divorced, such as “when can I seek a petition for temporary relief during a divorce in Illinois?”, “what topics can be covered in a temporary relief petition?”, “how long do temporary relief orders last?”, “can a temporary relief order be modified or concluded before the divorce is finalized?’, “how is the amount for the temporary relief order calculated?”, and “how is temporary custody determined in Illinois?”.

When Can I Seek a Petition for Temporary Relief During a Divorce in Illinois?

A petition for temporary relief in Illinois can be sought at any time during divorce proceedings.  You may be hesitant to initiate a divorce because of the residential or financial questions that are raised as soon as the Respondent is served with papers.  If you have children, additional topics come into play, such as where the kids will go to school and who will live in the primary home before the divorce is settled.  You should consult an attorney with your questions and concerns as soon as possible, as temporary relief can only be retroactive to the date you first file your petition.

What can a Temporary Relief Petition be used for in a Divorce Case?

The most common issues addressed in temporary relief petitions are:

How Long Do Temporary Relief Orders Last in Illinois Divorce?

Temporary relief will vary from case to case, but an order of temporary relief will never extend past the conclusion of the divorce.  Once a final judgement is entered, the terms outlined in your Dissolution of Marriage are effective immediately.  Only one order per topic can be in effect at a time.  If your temporary relief order is modified, the old order will automatically conclude when the new one is entered.

Can a Temporary Relief Order Be Modified or Concluded Before the Divorce is Finalized?

Yes.  If either party undergoes a “significant change in circumstance,” a motion can be filed to reassess the temporary order so that the Petitioner and Respondent can maintain the Status Quo (meaning comfortable lifestyle) they enjoyed before the marriage began to degrade.

How is the Amount for the Temporary Relief Order Calculated?

Depending on the type of relief you are seeking, many factors are considered before the judge makes a ruling on the order.  Typically, the same standards and calculations are utilized for temporary orders and final judgments.  The main difference between temporary and final orders being that although a judge sees a financial affidavit from each party, the content is not filed with the Court at this time.  If you are in need of temporary relief due to the duration of your divorce, it is likely that both parties will need to update all financial information prior to the final hearing.  For more detailed information about the calculation of child support, see our article entitled Illinois Child Support 2019.  For more detailed information about the calculation of maintenance/alimony/spousal support, see our article entitled How to Calculate Illinois Spousal Maintenance in 2019.

How is Temporary Custody Determined?

In Illinois, the term “custody” is no longer used to describe which parent is responsible for the child.  An allocation agreement outlines how much “parenting time” each parent is entitled to, as well as the specifics about when they can exercise that time and under what terms.  In terms of responsibility, the allocation agreement will outline whether the parents will have “joint” or “sole” decision-making privileges.  The Court of Illinois believes that a relationship with both parents is in the best interests of the child.  Therefore, the Court tends to allow both parents to share parenting time and decision-making privileges unless significant evidence is brought forward to demonstrate that a relationship with one of the parents would not be in the child’s best interest.  In extreme situations, permanent parenting time and/or decision-making privileges can be awarded to one of the parents, based on the precedent of the Court’s belief.  For more information about the allocation of parenting time and joint vs. sole decision-making privileges, see our article entitled Illinois Parenting Laws 2019|Illinois Child Custody 2019.

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