Frequently Asked Questions About Illinois Family Law
Matters related to family touch close to the heart. If you are contemplating divorce, we encourage you to consult with us about your unique circumstances and your goals for your family going forward. Taking into account the care and support of your children as well as yourself for the future, we can help you develop a plan that addresses issues from the past and present, and those that may come in the future.
At Lois Kulinsky & Associates, Ltd., we represent clients like you who want only the best for their families. For a free 30-minute consultation to discuss your case, call us at 847-459-4448 or contact us online. For your convenience, we have multiple offices, offer payment plans and have flexible scheduling.
Addressing Your Questions Regarding Illinois Divorce And Family Law Matters
1. How long does a divorce take?
The length of a divorce depends upon many factors, including but not limited to:
- Whether or not your spouse is contesting the grounds for divorce, the allocation of parental responsibilities or the division of assets
- The county in which your divorce is filed
Divorces can be done as quickly as a couple of weeks and can take as long as three to four years.
2. 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 approximately $369. Service fees are in addition to filing fees.
3. What does ‘allocation of parental responsibilities and parenting time’ mean?
As of January 2016, Illinois changed some of the terms used in the Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act. The “allocation of parental responsibilities” basically refers to what we used to call “legal and physical custody,” while “parenting time” encompasses “visitation.”
In other words, the new law recognizes that the two main legal concepts in parenting are 1) who gets to make important decisions regarding the child; and 2) who is providing in-person caretaking of the child.
For example, suppose two parents have each been actively involved in the raising of their children and there are no unusual issues. Their parental responsibilities might be allocated equally.
If so, each would have full rights to make decisions in their kids’ lives about critical issues such as religion, education, medical and dental treatment, and enrollment in after-school activities. They would, however, be expected to make those decisions jointly when reasonable.
If each parent’s home was equally convenient, parenting time might be allocated more or less equally, as well. Parenting time is the in-person time each parent spends with the child while executing caretaking functions. It includes the right to make ordinary, day-to-day decisions. However, one parent’s home must now be designated as the children’s primary residential home.
These changes were meant, in part, to remove any underlying implication that there is a “main parent” and a “visiting parent” and to promote positive relationships between children and both of their parents.
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 are 20 percent for one child, 28 percent for two children, 32 percent 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, care for emotionally or physically challenged children, therapy 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 again employed. Each payment when due is vested until a new court order is entered.
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. Are my spouse and I 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 day care expenses for our children once we are divorced?
Day care expenses and child support expenses are two separate categories under our law. It is quite possible that you will receive day care expense money 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 or 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 my current home with my children after a divorce decree has been granted?
In order to move your children more than about 25 miles from their customary home, you are required to give the other parent at least 60 days’ notice by filing with the court. 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 needs to be filed.
12. After I am divorced, what would happen if I moved away with my children and I do not have permission from the court or my former spouse to do so?
If you move the children more than about 25 miles or out of Illinois without court permission or written approval of your former spouse, you could face a range of consequences. Your parenting rights could be negatively affected. You could be held in contempt of court and ordered to return. You could even be charged with kidnapping. In most cases, your children would be returned to Illinois.
Contact Us Now For A Free, Half-Hour Initial Consultation
Contact us online or call 847-459-4448 to speak with our family law attorneys. For your convenience, our main office is in Wheeling, and we also have an office in Libertyville and Buffalo Grove, representing both Cook County and Lake County. Free, half-hour initial consultations are available for new clients.