Wheaton, Illinois Divorce Attorneys
Personalized Service for Family Law Matters in DuPage County
Navigating the process of a divorce or the dissolution of a civil union is no easy task. Not only do you have to deal with the bureaucracy of the process, but also with all of the emotional and financial issues that come with it. The attorneys at Beck & Houlihan, P.C. are locally recognized for their work and dedicated to representing your interests during this difficult time. With over 30 years of trial experience, our attorneys are well-versed in making the process as successful and stress-free as possible.
What to Expect When Filing for Divorce in Illinois
In Illinois, a person must have grounds for divorce. The court shall enter a judgment of dissolution of marriage if at the time the action was commenced one of the grounds set forth in Chapter 750 ILCS 5/401 can be proved. Filing under irreconcilable differences requires that the parties either agree to divorce and have been separated for at least two years. If the parties agree to waive the two-year period of separation for the ground of irreconcilable differences, this ground can be used as the ground for the divorce if both parties confirm for the court that they have been living separate and apart for a period in excess of six months. One of the parties must also have been a resident of Illinois for at least three months. Either spouse can also choose to file for divorce based on fault, which includes grounds such as impotence, adultery, drug addiction, desertion, cruelty, felony conviction, and others.
Beginning January 1, 2016, Illinois Senate Bill 57 will affect the current Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA) laws, requiring couples to only be separated for a six-month timespan if they cannot agree on terms of divorce. If couples do agree and can amicably split, there will be no waiting time in filing for dissolution of marriage.
Matters of Child Custody
If the couple has children, the court can decide child custody matters. The best interest of the child is the test that the court will apply in making custody determinations. In addition, the court may order individual counseling for the child, family counseling for one or both parents and the child, or parental education if both parents agree or the court finds that it is in the child’s best interest. The court may also decide on child support in order to provide for the reasonable and necessary needs of the child, without regard to marital misconduct. The court uses a set of guidelines to determine the minimum amount of support, and these are based on the number of children and the supporting party’s net income, but can also be adjusted based on the best interest of the child.
Changes to IMDMA in 2016 will also affect child custody. The law will be focused on parental responsibility rather than custody, meaning each aspect of a child's life (health care, religion, education, etc.) will be divided between both parents or assigned solely to one.
Dividing Property and Alimony
Property division is another element of divorce that most couples have to deal with. The court considers marital property to be all property acquired by either spouse subsequent to the marriage, but excludes property acquired before the marriage, by gift, legacy, after a judgment of legal separation, etc. Marital debt must also be considered when splitting assets and property in a divorce proceeding.
Regarding alimony (also known as spousal support), the court must first determine whether a maintenance award is appropriate. If the court determines that it is appropriate, the court shall order maintenance in accordance with the guidelines set forth in Chapter 750 ILCS 5/504 of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act. In determining alimony, the court may consider such factors as the income and property, realistic earning capacity, and any impairments to earning capacity of each party, as well as the standard of living established during the marriage, and other factors.
On January 1, 2016, under Senate Bill 57, rulings on allocations of alimony (maintenance) and property division will be affected. Courts must start providing reasons (or rationale) for all allocations. Also, fixed periods of maintenance will not be able to be changed via court order (for couples married ten years or less). Currently, all maintenance orders are subject to review or change if one party files a motion. The admendments allow the court to review a case in full and determine whether alimony should be fixed or reviewable.
Contact Illinois Lawyers Committed to Family Law
At Beck & Houlihan, P.C., our skilled Illinois family law attorneys are committed to making ourselves available to discuss what is best for you and your family. We can assist you through family law mediation or collaborative law techniques or aggressively defend your best interests in court. Find out more about our attorneys and practice areas, and contact our office at 630-933-9220. We serve our clients in DuPage, Cook, Kane & Will Counties.