Divorce FAQ
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Divorce FAQ

Aurora Divorce Attorneys

WHAT IS DISSOLUTION OF MARRIAGE?

A dissolution of marriage (commonly called divorce) is a court proceeding that terminates a marriage, divides marital property between the married-couple and provides for maintenance, child custody and child support.

MUST I LIVE IN ILLINOIS TO OBTAIN A DISSOLUTION OF MARRIAGE?

Either of the married-couple must reside in the State of Illinois when suit is filed and for 90 days prior to the date the Court enters a judgment of dissolution of marriage or legal separation.

WHAT ARE GROUNDS FOR DISSOLUTION OF MARRIAGE?

As of January 1, 2016, new statutory legislation provides that there does not need to be any “grounds” for a divorce. That means that there are no more claims for mental cruelty, abandonment, adultery, or 8 other archaic grounds. Essentially, so long as one party wants a divorce, the Court will grant it.

WHAT ARE THE TIMING REQUIREMENTS FOR DISSOLUTION OF MARRIAGE?

As for timing until a judgment for dissolution may be entered, the parties need only live separate and apart for at least six (6) months.

WHAT IS LIVING “SEPARATE AND APART” MEAN?

This means that the legally married-couple are not engaged in typical marital activities. There are multiple factors that can prove that you are living separate and apart. And, a married couple may live in the same home and still be living separate and apart.

WHAT HAPPENS IN A PROCEEDING FOR DISSOLUTION OF MARRIAGE?

An action for dissolution is similar to other lawsuits. A petition for the dissolution is filed with the Court by one spouse (who is called the plaintiff/petitioner). The petition is served on the other spouse (who is called the defendant/respondent) who must file an answer to the petitioner with the Court within thirty days. If defendant/respondent cannot be found, notice of the suit is published in the local newspaper. If the defendant/respondent fails to answer within thirty days, the dissolution may proceed by default without the defendant/respondent having an opportunity to protect his or her rights.

If the defendant/respondent is in default, or if the parties have agreed to the terms of support, custody, and property division, a brief court hearing is held in which the plaintiff/petitioner testifies, called a “prove up.” The resulting agreements are submitted to the Court for approval and then become part of the dissolution judgment. If the dissolution is contested, a trial is held and the judge decides any unresolved questions of support, custody, or property division.

WHAT IS MARITAL AND NON-MARITAL PROPERTY?

All property acquired during the marriage, including the house, bank accounts, insurance, and furnishings is considered marital property, regardless of which spouse holds title. All marital property is subject to division by the Court though the division isn't necessarily equal. Certain exceptions, such as gifts or inheritance received individually by either spouse or property owned prior to marriage, are considered non-marital if they are kept separate from the marital property. The non-marital property is assigned to the spouse who owns it.

WHAT IS A LEGAL SEPARATION?

It is a court action for maintenance or child support brought by the party in need who is living physically separate and apart from the other spouse without fault. A judgment of legal separation does not result in the termination of the marriage and does not provide for the division of property. A judgment in this form does not allow either party to remarry until a dissolution is obtained. Legal separations are very uncommon, and are only advised in certain particular instances.

WHO SUPPORTS THE CHILDREN?

Each party owes a duty to support the children, even after a dissolution. The parent with the minority parenting time usually will be required to pay certain sums of money to the parent with majority parenting time to be used to support the children. A parent's duty of support generally terminates when a child reaches 18. However, when a child is in school or is disabled the Court may order parents to provide support beyond age 18. The Court can also order child support from the estate of a deceased parent. And the Court can require the parents to pay for college expenses.

WHO PAYS THE ATTORNEY'S FEES AND COURT COSTS?

e dissolution order may contain provisions concerning payment of attorney's fees and costs. The Court may order each party to pay his or her own attorney's fees and costs or may order one party to pay all or part of the spouse's fees and costs. The decision of the Court is based on the respective financial resources and needs of the parties. Each of the parties is responsible for any fee arrangement made with his or her own attorney. It is advisable that the client discuss fees with the attorney at the outset of the case, including questions of hourly rates, court costs, the fee responsibility of the other spouse, and the effect of reconciliation or termination of the attorney's services.

HOW MAY A PERSON PROTECT PROPERTY OR CHILDREN DURING A PROCEEDING FOR DISSOLUTION?

After a petition for dissolution has been filed with the Court, a Court may order either party to pay temporary maintenance or child support until the proceedings are completed. Additionally, under appropriate circumstances, a Court may grant a temporary restraining order or injunction prohibiting either or both parties from concealing or disposing of property, from abusing the other party, or from removing the children from the area or the state. To obtain these temporary orders, the party must file a petition with the Court with an affidavit reciting the facts necessitating the temporary relief. Before or after a petition for dissolution has been filed, a separate petition for order of protection from domestic violence may be filed and an order of protection served on the other spouse.

WHAT IS AN ORDER OF PROTECTION FOR DOMESTIC VIOLENCE?

With or without the filing of a petition for dissolution, an abused party may apply to the Court for an order of protection for herself or himself, on behalf of a minor child, or on behalf of a physically or mentally handicapped adult. Upon a finding of abuse, the Court shall have the power to order the defendant from striking or harassing the plaintiff or family members, to grant possession of the household, to prohibit the defendant from taking or destroying personal property, and other relief. The order shall be valid for a fixed time not to exceed two years.

WHAT IF ONE SPOUSE REFUSES TO COMPLY WITH THE PROVISIONS OF A DISSOLUTION JUDGMENT?

Like any other judicial order, a judgment for dissolution will be enforced by the Court. Persons who willfully refuse to comply may be sent to jail for contempt of court or fined.

HOW ARE SUPPORT PAYMENTS MADE?

With regard to maintenance and child support, an order of withholding may be obtained which directs an obligor’s employer to send payments owed to the obligor directly to the obligee.

MAY A WIFE USE HER FORMER NAME AFTER A DISSOLUTION?

If a wife wants to resume her maiden name or former name, the Court, in the dissolution judgment, will restore the right to use that name. If, however, the wife wants to continue using her married name, she may do so if she likes.

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