When most people think of grief, they think of losing a loved one. However, any major loss can cause a person to struggle with sadness, and divorce is certainly a traumatic event that can lead to this type of difficulty. People going through a divorce experience a wide range of emotions, and everyone processes emotions differently. However, people often progress through several stages dealing with grief, and understanding these stages can help you determine the best steps to take during the divorce process. By working with an experienced divorce attorney, you can understand your legal options and ensure that your rights are protected as you process these emotions.
This stage is most likely to occur when one spouse wants a divorce, but the other does not. A person may believe that talk of divorce is just a phase the couple is going through and that everything will soon return to normal. In some cases, denial can be a very helpful emotion, serving as a natural defense mechanism that protects a person from feeling too many emotions all at once. However, even if you believe that your marriage can be saved, you should take steps to protect your rights, including addressing issues related to property ownership or child custody during the divorce process....
Most people know how much income they earn in a month or a year. Sometimes, however, determining the actual amount of income can become complicated. For example, what if you are an independent contractor, and your income is constantly in flux? Or, what if you are receiving Social Security benefits? These are just two situations in which determining how much income you have becomes tricky. However, your income will play a vital role in divorce proceedings, particularly when finalizing terms regarding child support and spousal maintenance. So, how do you define your income in divorce proceedings? In Illinois, these determinations are based on three different statutes: the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act (UIFSA), the Income Withholding for Support Act, and the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA).
The Uniform Interstate Family Support Act
The UIFSA governs financial support obligations for divorced spouses who live in different states, and it has the broadest definition of income. Under the UIFSA, income is considered any earnings or property subject to withholding for support.
To understand this vague definition, you must first determine what income and other property is subject to withholding for support. This is outlined in the Income Withholding for Support Act....
A non-custodial parent who is ordered by a judge to pay child support may experience feelings of contempt and hostility toward his or her former partner. These strong emotions do not necessarily occur because a parent does not want to provide financially for his or her children, but they often result from a loss of control over one’s finances. With no way of knowing what those child support payments are being used for, a parent may worry about whether they are actually going toward the daily living expenses of the child or are being used to pay for other costs incurred by the custodial parent. A non-custodial may also wonder why he or she may be required to pay additional expenses as part of his or her child support obligations. So, what does child support actually pay for?
Basic Child Support Obligations
In Illinois, all parents have a legal obligation to provide for their children financially until the time a child turns 18. This support is meant to provide for the basic living expenses of the child, including food, clothing, housing and other basic needs. Essentially, child support payments are meant to provide for the child’s needs in a way that replicates a two-parent household. However, in addition to this basic support obligation, non-custodial parents may also be required to provide additional financial support that meets children’s other needs.
Additional Child Support Obligations
While a basic child support obligation is meant to provide for a child’s daily living expenses, Illinois law outlines four categories for additional child support above and beyond the basic obligation:...
In Illinois, child support is taken seriously. Illinois law recognizes that all parents are financially responsible for meeting their children’s needs until the children are no longer minors. While ensuring that children’s safety and welfare are protected, the law can place a financial burden on those who must pay support. When non-custodial parents do not pay financial support, the other parent may take measures to ensure child support is paid.
Non-custodial parents who do not pay child support can be held in contempt of court. However, cases involving non-payment are often resolved before these types of charges are filed, and to ensure that payments are made, the non-custodial parent’s wages may be garnished. The parent’s employer will then be responsible for deducting the ordered amount from his or her wages and making the payments to the custodial parent. However, a parent may wonder how wage garnishment is handled and what will happen if an employer fails to make these payments.
How Wage Garnishment for Child Support Works
A parent who has not received court-ordered child support payments can petition the court to garnish the wages of the other parent. The amount garnished may address both ongoing payments and any back payments and interest owed. If the court allows the wage garnishment, up to 50 percent of the non-custodial parent’s wages can be deducted from their paychecks. If the non-custodial parent does not have any other support obligations, such as child support or spousal support from a previous relationship, up to 60 percent of his or her wages can be garnished. Additionally, if a non-custodial parent is more than 12 weeks behind on child support payments, another 5 percent can be garnished from his or her wages....
If you are considering divorce, you have likely imagined lengthy legal battles and contentious disputes with your ex-spouse during the process. However, divorce does not have to be this way. Collaborative law is a very effective alternative to litigation in court when trying to finalize the terms of a divorce. Collaborative divorce functions as a middle ground between mediation, in which both parties are very amicable and cooperative, and litigation, where things can become fairly hostile as disputes are argued in court in front of a judge.
What Is Collaborative Divorce?
During a collaborative divorce, both sides will work together with their respective attorneys to try to resolve all outstanding disputes or legal issues, such as custody of children or division of marital property. In a collaborative divorce, the attorneys for both sides attempt to come to an agreement that is satisfactory for all involved, unlike litigation, in which one side typically wins and one loses. Collaborative divorce places the needs of the couple, and the entire family, front and center. By working together to reach a settlement, a couple can eliminate uncertainty over what a judge will decide, and both parties will have much more control over the outcome.
How Much Does Collaborative Divorce Cost?
There is no single answer to the question of how much any divorce will cost, whether litigation, mediation or collaborative law is used to resolve disputes. However, collaborative law is often much more affordable than litigation. In a collaborative divorce, experts do not need to testify in court, you will not need to attend multiple court hearings, and you can avoid paying filing fees for petitions or subpoenas. Ultimately, the cost of a collaborative divorce will depend on how long it takes for you and your spouse to come to an agreement on the outstanding issues. Generally speaking though, a collaborative divorce is less costly than litigation....
Even if your marriage has broken down, you may not want to go through the long, drawn-out process of divorce. You know you will have to see your ex in many unpleasant circumstances, and you may want to avoid interacting with him or her altogether. If you are in an abusive relationship, this can be a particularly important issue.
You may have heard about the possibility of getting a divorce through the newspaper in which you simply publish the divorce announcement and have your marriage dissolved. Is this true, though? Can you really just publish that you want a divorce in a newspaper and have the process finalized? While this may be possible in Illinois, the process of doing so is not easy, and you will have to meet several criteria before you start paying for that ad space.
What You Need to File Through Publication
In a few rare cases, you can get divorced through a publication in the newspaper in Illinois. Before you do so, you will need to file a petition for divorce with the court, ask the judge to allow you to serve the divorce papers through publication, and then prove why you need to do so....
If you are going through a divorce with children involved, you will also have to go through child custody proceedings. Child custody, which is known as the “allocation of parental responsibilities” in Illinois, is one of the most emotional and hotly contested aspects of any divorce, since there is a lot on the line. In order to give your case the best chance of success in court, you should be sure to know what to do and what not to do. If you are currently going through a custody battle, make sure you avoid making any of the following mistakes that could sabotage your case:
1. Try to Alienate Your Children From the Other Parent
During a divorce, one parent may try to influence the other parent’s relationship with the couple’s children. He or she may not allow the child to call the other parent during visits, or he or she may speak badly about the other parent to the child. While this type of behavior is common in divorce cases, the courts do not view it favorably. A judge will typically view alienation as damaging to the child, and he or she may choose to restrict the parental responsibilities or parenting time of a parent who engages in parental alienation.
2. Yell at Your Spouse or Children
People sometimes “play dirty” during divorce proceedings, and your ex-spouse may go so far as to record your conversations. If you yell at or belittle your ex-spouse or child in any way, this can have a very damaging impact on your child custody case. While recordings made without your permission are not admissible in court, the mere existence of a record of your behavior can be damaging to your case. The only way to make certain that this type of behavior will not affect your relationship with your children is to never yell at your spouse or children or become violent in any way....
Getting an uncontested divorce sounds fairly simple. In fact, these are typically the least complicated divorces in Illinois because both spouses agree to the terms of the divorce; however, this type of divorce isn’t always straightforward or uncomplicated. Any couple facing a divorce, even one that is uncontested, is going to have questions. Below are the five most common issues that come up in uncontested divorces:
Can We Use the Same Lawyer?
One lawyer representing both sides in any legal matter is a major conflict of interest. While both spouses may consult with a single attorney as they proceed with the divorce process, the attorney can only represent one spouse during the divorce proceedings. In order to ensure that both parties’ rights are protected, you and your spouse should use different attorneys that will represent each party’s separate interests. Even during an uncontested divorce, you will need legal advice on the steps to take and an advocate who will stand up for your rights.
How Long Does an Uncontested Divorce Take?
This will depend on the timelines followed in your local family court, which can range from as little as two weeks to up to two months. In addition to the court timelines, there are other factors that will affect how long your divorce will take. These include the court’s schedule and how long it takes:...
If you are going through a divorce, you will likely come across a variety of procedural rules that you will have to follow and many different legal terms you may not have heard before. One of these terms is “guardian ad litem.” Many divorcing couples do not understand the role of a guardian ad litem (GAL) or why one may be appointed by the court. However, this person can play an important part in decisions about child custody, so you will want to be sure to understand how to proceed if a GAL has been appointed.
What Is a Guardian Ad Litem?
In some divorce cases, matters related to the allocation of parental responsibilities and parenting time may need to be addressed by the judge. When making decisions about these issues, the judge must take a number of factors into consideration, including the home life of both parents, the financial situation of each parent and ultimately, what is best for the child.
While this information is all very important for a judge to have, he or she will be unable to perform extensive interviews with the parents, the child or other relevant parties, such as teachers, doctors, family members and counselors. To gather the required information, a judge may appoint a guardian ad litem who will investigate the case and report the findings to the judge. The GAL will typically prepare a written report, and each parent’s attorney may cross-examine the GAL in court. The judge is not bound by the recommendations made by the guardian ad litem, but he or she will usually take the report into great consideration when making decisions....
In April of 2019, daytime talk show host Wendy Williams filed for divorce from her husband, Kevin Hunter. During the divorce proceedings, Hunter requested a substantial amount in spousal support, as well as child support for the couple’s 18-year-old son, Kevin Junior. Hunter relied on his job as executive producer on Williams’ show for an income, and he was also her personal manager. Now, after being fired from both jobs, he has no source of income.
This case is interesting, raising several questions. One significant issue involves Williams’ claim that she should not have to pay spousal support because Hunter cheated on her. Those who are divorcing in Illinois may wonder how the state’s laws would address these issues. Does adultery affect the terms of a divorce?
Adultery as Grounds for Divorce
In Illinois, the only grounds for divorce is “irreconcilable differences.” This simply means that there has been a breakdown in the marriage and that there is no hope that the couple will reconcile. This is different than how divorce worked in Illinois historically, as previously, there was once a long list of grounds for divorce, including adultery....
The completion of divorce proceedings has an air of finality. The marriage is officially over, the sometimes long and drawn out divorce process is finished, and both parties can move on with their lives. However, just because a divorce is final does not mean those involved will live by their divorce decree forever. Like everything else in life, the terms of a divorce often change, sometimes years after they were finalized.
Remarriage is one of the biggest reasons the terms of a divorce will change. When one of the ex-spouses gets remarried, both parties will want to consider how spousal maintenance and child support will be affected.
Remarriage and Maintenance in Illinois
Generally speaking, when a person who is receiving maintenance gets remarried, their former spouse will no longer be required to pay alimony. The only exception is when the two parties have come to another agreement. The person making alimony payments can stop doing so upon the date of the remarriage. They do not have to return to court or ask for an order of termination of support....
When parents are divorced, the death of a parent can create a number of difficulties. If the deceased ex-spouse was the custodial parent, this will likely mean that the other parent will have more parenting time with their child. However, it is important to understand how Illinois courts address child custody in cases in which a parent dies.
The Courts Are Generally in Favor of the Surviving Parent
When a custodial parent dies, and the courts need to reassign custody of children (known as “allocation of parental responsibilities” in Illinois), they will generally give preference to the surviving parent. The court will typically assume that the surviving parent has a greater interest in the care, custody and control of the child than anyone else. This will generally hold true even when another person, such as a grandparent or stepparent, asserts rights over the child....
In any divorce, there are a wide variety of complicated issues that must be addressed and resolved, and disputes over child custody, child support and property division can make emotions run high. However, there are some divorce cases that have all of these issues and even more. High net worth divorces can be extremely complex, since they will have the same issues as any other divorce, along with additional factors that can make resolving these cases more challenging. These factors may include:
The Scope of Assets
Typically, there are many assets in a high net worth divorce, and determining how to divide marital property can be difficult, especially when this property includes assets such as real estate, investments and retirement accounts. An asset acquired before the marriage will typically be considered separate property that is not divided during the divorce process. However, if a non-marital asset appreciated in value during the marriage, the courts may view this appreciation as marital property. Determining what assets are considered marital property and how to divide them fairly and equitably during divorce can be a complicated undertaking....
Parental alienation during divorce is more common than many people think. One study has found that parental alienation plays a part in 11 to 15 percent of all divorces. For the parent being alienated, this can be devastating and frustrating. How does one prove the other parent is attempting alienation of children? Is there anything a parent can do about this?
What Is Parental Alienation?
Parental alienation occurs when one parent attempts to interfere in his or her children’s relationship with the other parent. This commonly happens during and after divorce, although sometimes it may even begin to happen towards the end of the marriage.
A parent may commit alienation by telling their children that the other parent does not really love them or does not want to see them. However, alienation is not always so obvious. Sometimes, one parent will simply speak negatively about the other parent in front of the children, such as by blaming the other parent for the divorce, for financial difficulties, or for any other problems the children are experiencing. Over time, children may believe what they hear and start to pull away from the parent they are being alienated from....
If you feel that your marriage may end in divorce, you are probably wondering about the steps that you will need to follow to complete the process of dissolving your marriage. Since divorce almost always causes financial upheaval, you also may be wondering if you can save money by attempting to complete the process without being represented by an attorney.
Should I File for Divorce Without a Lawyer?
In Illinois, everyone has the right to represent themselves in court and that includes while getting a divorce; however, if you and your ex-spouse will need to resolve disputes through litigation in court, you should seek the help of an attorney. A lawyer will ensure that your rights are protected throughout the legal process and help you understand the steps that will be followed and the requirements....
Getting a divorce is rarely easy. When a couple is facing divorce, they often envision lengthy legal battles in the courtroom. However, divorce proceedings do not have to involve the courtroom at all, and ex-spouses are often able to part ways amicably. When a couple wants to minimize the amount of conflict in a divorce while having control over the terms of their divorce settlement, they often turn toward mediation.
Mediation is a process in which the two divorcing spouses meet with a mediator to come to an agreement on all terms of the divorce, including child custody, child support and property division. Mediation often sounds like the ideal solution because these proceedings are civil and respectful. However, like anything else, mediation does have its own pros and cons. You should weigh these against each other when considering whether mediation is a viable solution for you....
Illinois is an equitable distribution state. This means that when two people get divorced, the courts will divide their marital property equitably, or fairly. This type of property division is usually fairly straightforward, but there are certain factors that can make it more complicated. Today, frozen embryos are one issue that can make a divorce case especially complex.
There are currently hundreds of thousands of frozen embryos in the United States, and because of this, the number of divorces involving frozen embryos is likely to increase. Since the courts in Illinois have not yet set a precedent for dividing frozen embryos between divorcing spouses, the decisions made during a divorce will likely depend on the facts of the case. So, what facts are taken into consideration when frozen embryos were part of a marriage and are now part of a divorce?...
Even those who do not regularly follow celebrity news may have heard about the breakup of Khloe Kardashian and Tristan Thompson. Aside from the entertainment aspect of the story, people may be curious about the legal effects of the breakup and how similar matters would be handled in Illinois. Since the couple has a child together, the question of how child custody and child support will be handled may be on some people’s minds.
Child Custody for Unwed Parents in Illinois
When a child is born to a married couple in Illinois, the husband is assumed to be the father of the child. However, that is not the case when the parents are unwed. If unmarried parents break up, the parentage of the child will need to be legally established before decisions can be made about child custody.
Parentage is established in one of three ways in Illinois. The easiest way is for both parents to complete a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity (VAP) in which they both agree the man in question is the biological father of the child. If the parents do not agree to submit a VAP, a court may order DNA testing to establish that the man is the child’s biological father, and an Order of Paternity will be issued. In addition to these options, the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services may also conduct paternity testing and enter an Administrative Paternity Order....
There are few things more difficult for a family to go through than divorce. This is particularly true when there are children involved. Emotions run high, and everyone wants to leave the marriage in a manner that is fair to them, and the entire family can struggle to move on with their lives. In addition to all of this, parents must negotiate a child custody agreement and determine child support obligations. During this process, there are three very important things each parent must keep in mind.
1. Keep Your Emotions in Check
Spouses will normally experience strong feelings when going through a divorce, such as sadness, anger, disappointment and frustration. However, letting these emotions rule child custody negotiations typically results in a longer, more difficult process. Parents should do their best to try to avoid being confrontational during these proceedings, and remember at all times that negotiations are taking place in the best interests of the child, not the parents. In addition, remember that these negotiations can take time. Rather than rushing to reach an agreement as soon as possible, you should ensure that the final agreement protects your parental rights and meets your children’s needs.
2. Know the Laws
Child support is determined by a judge who will use the financial information the two spouses have submitted to make a decision. Due to this, both parents going through a divorce must provide accurate financial documents, and they should be sure to understand the laws surrounding child support....
A study conducted in 2012 showed that many couples choose not to get divorced because they believe it will be too expensive. Even though that study was done several years ago, the same holds true today, and those who are considering ending their marriage may be concerned about the cost of doing so. If you are thinking of getting a divorce in Illinois, you are likely wondering how much will it really cost?
The answer to that question can vary depending on the circumstances of each individual case. However, Illinois is one of the costliest states to get a divorce. In fact, in the Prairie State, the average cost of a divorce is $13,800. When factors such as child support and alimony are involved, the total costs can climb to approximately $35,300. Some factors that can affect these costs include:
The Filing Fee
One cost no couple can get around when filing for divorce is the filing fee. This fee is required in all cases, whether the divorce is contested or uncontested. In Illinois, this fee averages around $289, depending on which county you reside. This is higher than the national average but is still not the highest in the country. In certain situations, such as when a low-income couple is getting a divorce, these fees are sometimes waived....