Illinois Divorce Laws
Illinois is a no-fault divorce state, meaning irreconcilable differences alone can be grounds for divorce without proving fault by either spouse. Child custody, referred to as allocation of parental responsibilities, follows the child's best interest standard. Marital property and alimony get divided equitably based on factors like income, needs, and marriage duration.
Understanding the Divorce Process
The divorce process in Illinois involves several steps, which differ depending on the type of divorce:
- Uncontested Divorce: This is when both parties agree on all terms, including property division, child custody, and alimony.
- Mediated Divorce: Here, a neutral third party, the mediator, helps the couple reach agreements on disputed issues.
- Contested Divorce: This occurs when spouses cannot agree, and the court must decide the contested issues.
Filing for Divorce
To start divorce proceedings, you or your spouse files a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage in county court.
The court may issue temporary orders for child custody, support, and asset distribution while the divorce is pending.
If you can’t agree, the court may order mediation to resolve conflicts cooperatively, reducing the need for court intervention.
If the divorce is contested, the judge may hold a pretrial conference to discuss the unresolved issues before going to trial.
Trial and Finalization
If an agreement is not reached, the divorce will proceed to trial, where the judge makes the final decisions.Then a final divorce decree is issued, outlining all decisions.
Types of Divorce
For an uncontested divorce, you and the other party agree on all the divorce issues and just need help with the legal process.
In a mediated divorce, the two parties meet with a third-party mediation attorney who helps them go through the divorce process together.
A contested divorce is where the two parties go through the process separately because they do not agree on one or more divorce issue.
Whether alimony is awarded depends on a variety of factors, including the length of the marriage, each spouse's financial situation, and their future earning potential, expenses, and more.
In Illinois, alimony is calculated using a specific formula that considers both spouses' incomes and the length of the marriage to create the amount and duration of alimony. However, courts have discretion – they may use other methods to determine a fair amount based on the circumstances of the case. There is no rigid formula that must be followed.
Sometimes referred to spousal maintenance or spousal support, alimony is a payment one spouse makes to the other during or after a divorce. It's designed to prevent significant disparities in living standards post-divorce, but it’s not guaranteed.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long until a divorce gets finalized in Illinois?
An uncontested divorce can finalize within months, while a contested divorce with disputes over assets, support, or child custody can take years. How long a divorce takes also depends on the complexity of the case. The court schedule may also impact the timeline.
What is the wife entitled to in a divorce in Illinois?The wife, or any spouse, is entitled to an equitable share of marital property and assets acquired during marriage. The court divides property fairly based on factors like contributions, needs, and earning abilities.
Does Illinois require separation before divorce?No, Illinois doesn't require legal separation first. However, if spouses have lived separately for at least 6 months, irreconcilable differences are legally established as grounds for divorce. This separation can be waived if both parties mutually consent to the divorce upfront.
How is marital property divided in an Illinois divorce?Marital property is divided equitably, which means fairly but not always equally. Factors like contributions, length of marriage, and circumstances are considered when dividing assets.
How does Illinois determine child custody?Parental responsibilities in Illinois are based on the child's best interests. The court considers various factors impacting the child's well-being and family circumstances.
Can you divorce a disabled spouse in Illinois?
If you or your spouse is disabled, most of the divorce process works the same as any other case. However, a disability can significantly impact Illinois divorce proceedings. When determining spousal support, courts consider the earning capacity of each spouse which may result in a higher alimony award. It can also impact property division and child custody.