Category Archives: Child Support
Out With the Old & In With the New: Big Changes to the Illinois Marriage & Dissolution of Marriage Act
On January 1, 2016, many changes took effect with regard to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (“IMDMA” or “Act”). The revised statute looks very different from the law Illinois family law attorneys and their clients have come to know. Detailed below are some noteworthy areas where the law concerning divorce, parenting, and property division has changed.
Changes to Grounds for Divorce:
The revised IMDMA has eliminated all fault-based grounds for divorce. Since 1977, Illinois has had both “no-fault” and “fault-based” grounds for divorce. Now, couples in Illinois are left with a single ground for divorce, “irreconcilable differences”. Additionally, the revised statute eliminates the two (2) year separation period previously required to dissolve a marriage. The aforementioned provision was replaced with a six (6) month separation period which provides, “If the parties live separate and apart for a continuous period of not less than 6 months immediately preceding the entry of the judgment dissolving the marriage, there is an irrebuttable presumption that the requirement of irreconcilable differences has been met.” 750 ILCS 5/401(a-5). Thus, an individual seeking a divorce in Illinois now only needs to assert that irreconcilable differences have led to an irretrievable breakdown of the marriage and the parties have lived separate and apart for six (6) consecutive months by the time a judgment of divorce is entered. Litigants should be aware that living separate and apart does not mean an actual physical separation of the divorcing spouses. The parties merely must cease living together as a husband and wife would for at least six (6) months; however, effectuating this requirement can take place while living under the same roof.
Types of Post-Decree Litigation
Think you’re done with your ex once your divorce is finalized?
While that is surely the goal, not everyone is so lucky. Many former spouses find themselves back in court years after the entry of their divorce judgments seeking to either a modify or enforce their divorce decrees.
Post-decree includes all litigation that occurs after a decree of divorce, dissolution of marriage, legal separation, or judgment of paternity is entered. Post-decree lawyers will often receive inquiries from former or new clients requesting one or more of the following:
While every divorce is different based on the parties, in general divorce law can be boiled down to 5 main areas:
Visitation or Parenting Time
Maintenance or Alimony
What many people tend to misunderstanding about child custody is that it actually is NOT the time spent with your children. Rather custody involves having the decision making authority to be able to decide the so-called “big decisions” that involve the upbringing of your children. The three decision-making areas that the law focuses on are religion, medical care, and education. Parents must be able to agree on these three areas in order to be eligible for joint custody. Elsewise sole custody is generally sought and a custody battle ensues.
Every child under the age of 18 has a right and need to be financially supported by both parents if the parents are alive, regardless of their personal financial situation. Even the unemployed and those collecting disability benefits are legally required to pay child support. Receiving financial support from both parents is designed to provide the child with the absolute best foundation to grow up on. Despite the well-intended nature of child support statutes, it is not always so easily collected. That is why it is crucial to understand the ins and outs of Illinois child support enforcement.
As if being a parent weren’t hard enough these days, things sure do get amplified when you are a single parent. It requires more responsibility, less time for yourself and the constant battle to juggle and find balance in your life. Situations become increasingly more complicated when child support comes into play. Illinois child support payments are generally straightforward and follow a guideline based on the statute. However, there are rare circumstances where the amount of child support can deviate from the statutory guidelines based on variables in the specific case.
Most of you are likely familiar with the saying, “It takes two to tango.” This phrase can have many meanings, but it essentially means that two people are typically responsible for a particular action or result. This saying is often heard when stating that is takes 2 people to bring a child into the world. In the realm of child support, both parents of a child are legally required to financially support their child, regardless of their relationship once the child is born. Child support in Illinois is typically straight-forward when it comes to establishing the amount of child support that a non-custodial parent must provide to ensure the is child properly supported.
Child Custody Arrangements Versus Child Support
While child custody arrangements and child support impact one another, legally, they are separate concepts. A parent still has visitation rights even if child support is delayed or has not been paid. This is an obligation that should still be followed by the residential parent, despite the frustration they may experience from a lack of financial support.
Per Section 505 of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act, the residential parent is typically entitled to child support from the non-custodial parent. A common misconception is that child support does not apply in joint custody scenarios. Joint custody is a legal principle and does not impact whether there is a designated residential parent, who would most likely receive child support. Child support is calculated according to percentage guidelines as set forth by statute.
WHAT CHICAGO FAMILY LAW FIRMS MAY NOT TELL YOU
It has become increasingly undeniable that we live in a very litigious society. Even with simple tasks such as entering to win a free cup of coffee, getting a new credit card or signing up for an email list, you are bombarded with extensive, confusing legal jargon. Moreover, when dividing assets during a divorce or negotiating child custody arrangements, things can get really convoluted to a lay person. We certainly can’t change the way the world works, but we can try to bring some simplicity into your lives, by sharing information on what many Chicago family law firms may not tell you.
Locating Top Divorce Attorneys in Chicago
If you are reading this, chances are you are experiencing lots of turmoil in your personal life and are desperate to seek answers. Going through a divorce, seeking child custody arrangements or needing a child support attorney is typically not a pleasant experience. Finding the top divorce attorneys in Chicago is perhaps one of the most important decisions you will make in your life and should not be taken lightly.
This blog post is here to advise (but not provide free legal advice, more on that topic later!) people on what steps to take, and make recommendations on how to seamlessly ask the right questions during your quest to find prospective Chicago family law firms. One caveat before we continue, we stress divorce attorneys in CHICAGO, because every state has different jurisdiction. We, The Law Offices of Jonathan Merel, P.C., are a group of Chicago divorce lawyers, so we can only properly provide facts on Illinois law.