1. How long does a divorce take?
The length of a divorce depends upon many factors, including but not limited to the following:
- Whether or not your spouse is contesting custody, grounds for divorce, or division of assets;
- The county in which your divorce is filed.
2. What is joint custody?
Joint custody means that both parties will be actively involved in the raising of their children including the making of major decisions regarding major issues in the children’s lives. Those issues include but are not limited to, choice of religion, education, medical and dental treatment, the use of dangerous devices such as the driving of an automobile, or enrollment in dangerous sports, such as football and hockey. Major decisions are made jointly by both parents. Day to day decisions are made by the parent with whom the children are residing or with whom they are visiting.
The children usually reside with one parent, and the other parent then has visitation or parenting time. Sometimes the time spent in each parent’s house is fairly equal, but in most instances, it is not.
3. How much does it cost to file for divorce?
There are certain filing fees that must be paid to the courthouse in order to file for divorce. The filing fees depend upon the county in which the case is filed and are generally $250.00 to $300.00. Service fees are in addition to filing fees.
4. How much child support can I expect to receive from my spouse if I file for divorce?
Under Illinois law, there are specific guidelines, which are minimums that the court must consider in setting child support. These minimums range from 20% for one child, 28% for two children, 32% for three children and so forth. If a child has special needs, the court can order child support in excess of the minimum guidelines. Special needs, include but are not limited to, emotionally or physically challenged children, therapy and/or counseling expenses for the children, special tutoring, and special schools.
5. If I have been court ordered to pay child support and I lose my job, does my child support automatically cease?
No. It is your responsibility to petition the court to ask for the child support to be reduced, modified, or temporarily terminated until such time as you are reemployed.
6. Does my child support automatically increase in the years after my divorce decree is final?
No. If you wish to have child support increased, you must file a petition to modify your child support. These petitions must state that there are substantial changes in circumstances since the divorce decree was entered such as, but not limited to, increased expenses for your children, and an increase in your former spouse’s wages or income.
7. Am I and is my spouse required to pay for college education expenses for our children once the divorce is finalized?
Illinois divorce law requires both parents to pay for their children’s undergraduate college education expenses based upon their resources and their abilities to pay. This Illinois law is separate and apart from the child support statute for children who are under the age of 18 or have not graduated from high school.
8. Will my spouse be required to contribute to daycare expenses for our children once we are divorced?
Daycare expenses and child support expenses are two separate categories under our law. It is quite possible that you will receive daycare expense monies in addition to child support depending upon your spouse’s net income and your net income.
9. What is an uncontested divorce?
If both parties have reached an agreement as to all issues, including but not limited to, the amount of child support, maintenance (alimony), custody, visitation, division of assets, division of debt and payment of attorneys fees, then it is possible to do an uncontested divorce. One attorney can draft all documents for the Court. However, the attorney ethically represents only one party. An uncontested divorce can be done quickly and inexpensively in comparison to contested cases. All documents must be drafted to meet the standards required by our Illinois courts.
10. How does my spouse find out about the divorce?
It is necessary to have your spouse served with papers in order for him/her to know that a court case is on file. Service can be done through an independent person appointed by the court and hired by your attorneys to serve papers on your spouse, or alternatively, through the sheriff of the county in which your spouse resides.
11. Can I move from the state of Illinois with my children after a divorce decree has been granted?
In order to move from the state of Illinois with your children, you are required to request, by proper petition to the court, removal of the children, provided however, if your final divorce papers indicate, in writing, that you have the right to remove your children from the state of Illinois, then no petition need be filed.
12. After I am divorced, what would happen if I moved from the state of Illinois with my children and I do not have permission from the court or my former spouse to do so?
If you remove the children from the state of Illinois without court permission and/or written approval of your former spouse, your children can be returned to the state of Illinois.