DIVORCE LAWS AND PROCEDURES- ILLINOIS
In this state there the grounds for dissolution may be either:
- No Fault Ground, or
- The differences which have been irreconcilable is the cause for the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage, and
- reconciliation has failed or
- further attempts at reconciliation are impractical and
- the spouses have been living separate and apart without cohabitation for 2 years.
If both spouses consent, the time period becomes 6 months
GENERAL OR THE FAULT GROUND
- The following are the general or fault ground in which the decree for dissolution may be granted:
- habitual drunkenness for 2 years and/or drug addiction;
- conviction of a felony;
- willful desertion for 1 year;
- cruel and inhuman treatment;
- attempted poisoning or otherwise endangering the life of the spouse;
- infection of the other spouse with a communicable disease; and
- The spouse filing for dissolution must have been a resident of Illinois for 90 days immediately prior to filing for dissolution of marriage.
- A petition for dissolution may be filed on one of the grounds in the Circuit court of the County where the other spouse resides.
The dissolution of marriage may be filed in a county where either spouse resides.
- The residency requirement specified in the statute is that an action for legal separation must be brought where the Respondent resides.
Any person living separate and apart from his or her spouse, without fault, may obtain a legal separation with provisions for reasonable support and maintenance.
PROCEDURES DISSOLUTION OF MARRIAGE
- SIMPLIFIED OR SPECIAL
- Marital settlement agreements are specifically allowed and encouraged
- In addition, Illinois has an approved "Joint Simplified Dissolution" procedure and petition found.
- To use this simplified procedure:
- the spouses must not have been married over 5 years;
- the spouses must neither have had nor adopted any children;
- the wife cannot now be pregnant by the husband;
- neither spouse can own any real estate;
- both spouses must certify that neither is dependent on the other for support [or must waive any type of alimony];
- the market value of all marital property must be less than $5,000.00; and
- the combined gross annual income of both spouses must be less than $25,000.00. Forms are available at any Office of the Clerk of a Circuit Court.
- MEDIATION OR COUNSELING
At the request of either spouse, or on the court's own initiative, the court may order a conciliation conference if it is felt that there is a prospect of reconciliation.
- Each spouse retains the non-marital (separate) property that he or she owned prior to the marriage and any property acquired by gift or inheritance during the marriage.
- The court will distribute all other marital property, without regard to fault, considering the following factors:
- the contribution of each spouse to the acquisition or dissipation of the marital or non-marital property,
- the value of each spouse's non-marital property;
- the economic circumstances of each spouse at the time the division of property is to become effective
- the desirability of awarding the family home to the spouse having custody of the children;
- the length of the marriage;
- the age and health of the spouses;
- the occupation of the spouses;
- the amount and sources of income of the spouses;
- the vocational skills of the spouses;
- the employability of the spouses;
- the estate, liabilities, and needs of each spouse and the opportunity of each for further acquisition of capital assets and income;
- the federal income tax consequences of the court's division of the property;
- any premarital agreement;
- liabilities of the spouses (including obligations from a prior marriage);
- whether the property award is instead of or in addition to maintenance; and
any custodial provisions for the children
- The court may award alimony or maintenance to either spouse for a period of time that it considers just irrespective of marital fault factor.
- The factors to be considered are:
- the time necessary to acquire sufficient education and training to enable the spouse to find appropriate employment;
- the standard of living established during the marriage;
- the duration of the marriage;
- the age of the spouses;
- the physical and emotional conditions of the spouses;
- the income and property of each spouse;
- whether the spouse seeking support is able to support himself or herself or is unable to seek employment because he or she is the custodian of a child;
- any contributions or service by the spouse seeking support to the education, career, training, potential, or licensure of the other spouse;
- any marital settlement agreement; and
- any other just and equitable factor.
- Once the judgment for dissolution is entered, a spouse receiving maintenance is expected to make good faith efforts, considering his or her age, skills, and life experience, to become self-supporting.
- Short-term rehabilitative maintenance may be awarded to enable the receiving spouse to gain skills for self-support.
- Where both spouses are able to support themselves, even if one earns substantially more than the other, maintenance may not ordinarily be awarded.
- The disparity in economic position could be equalized by agreement of the parties, or by the court after trial, by distributing a disproportionate share of the marital estate to the lesser-earning spouse.
Maintenance may be ordered for a set period and reviewed again to see if it should continue as is, be modified, or be ended. If a spouse can establish that he or she will be unable or unlikely to be able to become self-supporting, maintenance may be permanent.
CHILD CUSTODY AND SUPPORT
- The custody of child may be awarded either (sole or joint custody) basing on the best interests of the child and upon the following factors:
- preference of the child;
- the wishes of the parents;
- the child's adjustment to his or her home, school, and community;
- the mental and physical health of all individuals involved;
- the relationship of the child with parents, siblings, and other significant family members;
- any history of violence or threat of abuse by a parent, whether directed against the child or against another person; and
- the willingness and ability of each parent to encourage a close and continuing relationship between the child and the other parent.
- To award joint custody, the court will also consider the following factors:
- the ability of the parents to cooperate effectively and consistently;
- the residential circumstances of each parent; and
- any other relevant factor.
- The parents may prepare a Joint Parenting Agreement (which may be part of a Marital Settlement Agreement) which will specify each parent's rights and responsibilities for:
- personal care of the child and
- major educational, health care, and religious training decisions.
- This agreement will also include provisions specifying mediation of problems and periodic review of the terms of the Agreement.
- Joint parenting does not necessarily mean equal parenting time.
- The physical residence for the child is to be determined by either:
- an agreement between the parents or
a court order based on the factors listed above
SUPPORT OF THE CHILD
- Either or both parents may be ordered to pay reasonable and necessary child support, without regard to marital fault or misconduct.
- If the official guidelines are not appropriate, the following factors are considered:
- the financial resources and needs of the child;
- the standard of living the child would have enjoyed if the marriage had not been dissolved;
- the physical and emotional conditions and educational needs of the child; and
- the financial resources, needs, and obligations of both the noncustodial and the custodial parent.
- The court may require support to include payment of a child's health insurance premium.
- Support payments may be ordered to be paid directly to the clerk of the court.