Divorce FAQs

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Divorce Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

will county family law attorneys

Will County Divorce Attorneys

What is the process once you have been served a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage?

Once your spouse has served you with a Notice and a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage, you have 30 days to file an Answer and Appearance. An Answer is a response to the allegations that your spouse has made regarding the current state of your marriage in their Petition for Dissolution of Marriage. Once an Answer has been filed with the court in which your spouse has filed their Petition for Dissolution of Marriage, you and your spouse will be given a hearing date to discuss preliminary matters.

If you choose not to file an Answer to your spouse's Petition for Dissolution of Marriage within 30 days of being served, the court may enter a default judgement against you. A default judgement will allow the court to continue with the case and dissolve your marriage without your voice being heard.

When is alimony or spousal maintenance appropriate?

Alimony is commonly referred to as spousal maintenance in Illinois. This is a payment that one spouse makes to their ex-spouse so that they can support themselves after a divorce is finalized. Alimony or spousal maintenance is not awarded in every divorce. The court will analyze both parties as they lived during the marriage, as well as how they are likely to live after the divorce. The factors the court uses include:

  • The parties' income,
  • The parties' asset;
  • The earning capacity of each party;
  • Whether the party asking for spousal maintenance did not pursue education, training, employment, or other opportunities in order to take care of domestic duties;
  • The parties' age and health;
  • The standard of living that the parties' created during their marriage; and
  • The time it will likely take the spouse seeking maintenance to find employment.

The court can choose whether spousal maintenance will last throughout the spouse's lifetime, or if it will only be temporary. Each case is different and the court will make its decision according to the unique situation of each marriage.

How does one party get temporary custody and temporary child support started as quickly as possible?

After a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage has been filed with the court, either party to the divorce can request temporary child custody and temporary child support. This is done by filing a Petition for Temporary Child Custody. When determining whether to grant a party temporary custody, the court will use the same factors it will use to determine child custody once the divorce becomes final. In Illinois, the courts will always base their determination on the best interests of the child. The factors the courts will consider include:

  • The wishes of the parents;
  • The wishes of the child depending on their age, maturity, and education level;
  • The child's relationship with the parents, siblings, and other significant people in the child's life;
  • The child's adjustment to their home, school, and community;
  • The mental and physical health of both parents;
  • Any past or ongoing violence by a parent against the other parent or child;
  • Whether one parent is a sex offender;
  • If a parent is a member of the military, the courts will look at the terms of that parent's military family care plan; and
  • The willingness and ability of each parent to facilitate and encourage a close and continuing relationship between the child and the other parent.

Regardless of the court's decision, a Temporary Child Custody Order will not stop either party from seeking permanent custody. Temporary child custody is just that, temporary. The court's decision will typically last until the court issues a different order for temporary custody, the court sets a specific date where temporary custody will end, or when the divorce is finalized. Either party to a divorce may file a Petition to Change a Temporary Child Custody Order at any time.

To receive temporary child support, a Petition for Temporary Child Support must be filed with the court. The court will determine how much child support is needed using the factors set forth in 750 ILCS 5/505. However, the amount of child support awarded in response to a Petition for Temporary Child Support can be changed in the final divorce judgement. An attorney will be able to get this process started quickly and answer any questions you may have regarding this difficult process. Sean Robertson's experience in family law will help guide you to make the best decision for you and your child.

What is a joint parenting agreement?

A joint parenting agreement is an important document for divorcing parties with children. This document needs to be completed when parties are seeking joint custody of their children. A joint parenting agreement is a document that both parties will agree upon. This agreement specifically states each parent's responsibilities in regard to caring for the children. In particular, the joint parenting agreement will explain in detail how the parents will make important decisions regarding the children's education, health care, and religious education. It must also state how any problems or disputes between the parties will be handled. The joint parenting agreement also determines child support. Once the parties have agreed upon a joint parenting agreement, the parties will have to submit their proposed joint parenting agreement to the court for approval.

How does a court determine who gets child custody?

Child custody is determined in Illinois by the best interests of the child. The best interests of the child are several statutory factors the court uses to determine which parent will have custody of the child. These factors include:

  • The wishes of the parents;
  • The wishes of the child depending on their age, maturity, and education level;
  • The child's relationship with the parents, siblings, and other significant people in the child's life;
  • The child's adjustment to their home, school, and community;
  • The mental and physical health of both parents;
  • Any past or ongoing violence by a parent against the other parent or child;
  • Whether one parent is a sex offender;
  • If a parent is a member of the military, the courts will look at the terms of that parent's military family care plan; and
  • The willingness and ability of each parent to facilitate and encourage a close and continuing relationship between the child and the other parent.

While the courts can also consider other reasons relating to the parent/child relationship to award custody to one parent over another, the best interest factors reign supreme in determining custody.

Why hire an attorney vs handling a divorce pro se?

If you decide not to hire an attorney, you will be handling the divorce "pro se." "Pro se" means that you are a party to the case, but you are representing yourself rather than being represented by a lawyer. While some people choose this option over hiring an attorney, it is often difficult to fully understand your rights and obligations without the help of an experienced family law attorney.

Going through a divorce can be an extremely difficult and time consuming process. An attorney will be able to help you understand what needs to be done to protect your rights, assets, and children. Hiring an attorney will help lessen the stress of divorce. Knowing that your attorney is taking care of paperwork, following the necessary deadlines, and protecting your interests will allow you to focus on what you need to do for yourself and your family. An experienced divorce attorney knows the divorce process and can help move it along as efficiently as possible.

What is the difference between a contested and uncontested divorce?

An uncontested divorce occurs when both parties are willing and able to reach an agreement on issues such as child custody, child support, spousal maintenance, and property division. A contested divorce occurs when the parties cannot reach an agreement on one or more issues regarding the dissolution of their marriage. It is important that you fully understand all of the implications of a contested and uncontested divorce. An attorney will be able to help guide you through all the challenges that come with divorce.

How do most attorney's charge?

The cost of hiring an attorney for a divorce can vary depending on the client's individual situation and the attorney himself. The best way to determine the cost of attorney representation in a divorce is by attending an initial consultation with an attorney you are interested in. However, it is common for divorce attorneys to ask for a $2,500 retainer with fees becoming billable by each hour the attorney spends on your case once the retainer has been used up. In addition to attorney fees, there is also a filing fee and court costs that vary in each county. Please contact Robertson Legal Group, LLC at 630-780-1034 if you are interested in setting up an initial consultation regarding your specific case.

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