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Find the Right Illinois Family Lawyer

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Family Law
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Adoptions
Child Custody
Child Support
Divorce
Paternity
Premarital Agreements
Spousal Support
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Hiring the Right Ilinois Family Lawyer

If you are seeking a divorce, gain custody of your children, draft a prenuptial agreement or are just looking for legal advice about your situation, we recommend that you speak with a lawyer. An experienced family attorney can help you understand the important legal concepts and ramifications surrounding your issue, and give you advice about a recommended course of action. The process of finding and working with the right lawyer can sometimes seem to be uncertain, but a short meeting with an attorney can often set your mind at ease and guide you towards a positive resolution.

Before you begin, there are some key issues you may want to consider as you start your search for an attorney. First, it is to your benefit to contact an attorney as soon as possible after your legal issue arises. If you wait to contact attorney, you could miss important deadlines that can affect your case or proceedings. Next, understand why you want to meet with a lawyer. Layout out the goals you hope to accomplish with them and understand the different billing methods that attorneys use. And finally, it is important to establish an open line of communication with your attorney as go through your legal process so that you are aware of unforeseen issues or complexities that may arise.

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Lawyers in Illinois

Find the right lawyer in Illinois using LegalFish. You can use the form on the left to find an attorney in almost any area of law. To find a local attorney, please click on one of the cities below.

 

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Information About Family Law in Illinois

Page 1 of 5

Divorce

Illinois courts allow for both fault and no-fault divorces. In the case of a fault divorce, one spouse sues another for damages if they believe the other spouse is completely responsible for the breakdown of the marriage. In Illinois, grounds for finding fault with a spouse include infidelity, drug or alcohol abuse, physical or mental abuse toward a spouse, committing a criminal offense of at least a certain degree of severity, or infecting the spouse with a sexually transmitted disease. A spouse may sue for divorce due to any of these reasons, and may be awarded damages in a court sentencing or out-of-court settlement. However, these damages are typically awarded in a civil case brought about by the abused spouse, and are separate from the divorce case.

For a no-fault divorce to be granted in Illinois the couple must prove that their marriage is irreparably broken; that they are suffering from what is commonly referred to as “irreconcilable differences”. However, this process takes at least two years, during which the couple must be legally separated and living in separate residences. This can be reduced to six months if the couple agrees that their marriage is irreparable and document this agreement in writing with a court official.

Illinois also offers the option of a “simple” divorce, in which both parties agree that no alimony will be paid to either, and they do not have any children from the marriage. There must be absolutely no discrepancy between the parties in the appropriation of property for a simple divorce to proceed.

Child Custody

Both sole and joint custody are options for divorcing parents in Illinois. Within joint custody there are the sub-categories of shared custody and split custody. In the case of shared custody children are either under the physical custody of one parent, with both sharing decision-making responsibilities, or they are in joint physical custody, in which a period of time is spent with one parent, and another period of time is spent with another parent, such as weekdays versus weekends. Split custody involves multiple children, with each parent having full physical custody of one child or children, and the other parent having full physical custody another child or children. This is not typically recommended, however, since most courts wish to keep siblings together.

In Illinois courts the child’s wishes must be taken into consideration, but they are not the deciding factor in where the child will live. The parents and the judge have the most responsibility in making that decision.

In general, a court will wish to allow both parents to spend as much time as possible with their children. However, in Illinois a presiding judge in a custody battle is the end-all be-all power in deciding the outcome. They have every right to rule against the wishes of a parent if they feel the child’s best interest is in jeopardy. If a parent is deemed unfit or is attempting to prevent the other parent from spending time with the child, the judge can reduce or remove their custody rights.

Page 2 of 5

Child Support

Child support payments in Illinois are a percentage determined by the number of children in question and the net income of the non-custodial parent. The net-income can consist of a dizzying multitude of factors aside from just the monthly salary, including certain tax refunds, gambling winnings, pensions, and even certain kinds of gifts. It’s important to contact an experienced lawyer when negotiating child support payments, as they can inform you what funds you are and are not responsible to surrender.

When ruling on child support, it is required in the state of Illinois for the awarded monetary amount to be expressly spelled out in the order.

In the state of Illinois child support payments are always subject to change. Should circumstances of the child, custodial parent, or non-custodial parent change, modifying in the appropriation of payments may be in order. However, this is best done in court, so an experienced attorney is usually needed. Though this is historically atypical, an increase in a custodial parent’s financial situation may reduce the payments made by a non-custodial parent. Also, a custodial parent is typically not required to disclose the ways in which support payments are employed.

Though child support typically ends when the child comes of age (18 years old), an Illinois court can appropriate support funds from parents for the child’s college education. The amount of payments made by each parent is not subject to an income percentage prescribed by Illinois law, but rather the judgment of the court.

Spousal Support

In Illinois there are three forms of spousal support; permanent, lump sum, and rehabilitative. Permanent typically extends for the remainder of either of the spouse’s natural lives. Permanent alimony is usually only awarded to spouses who are unable to support themselves in their previous standard of living, or to spouses who divorce later in life.

Lump sum, or “in gross” alimony is one or several large payments made to the dependent spouse at the time of the divorce. Lump-sum payments are typically tax-free.

Rehabilitative support is a series of payments after the divorce to allow the dependent spouse to receive necessary training or education for finding an adequately-paid job, as well as the time needed for securing that job.

Support payments can be modified if the independent spouse encounters an unforeseen reduction in income, such as getting laid off when their company chooses to downsize. However, if an independent spouse voluntarily quits their job in the hopes of reducing their alimony payments, a judge will usually not modify the sentence.

Page 3 of 5

Adoption

Any individual may be legally adopted in Illinois, including adults. However, adults must consent to the adoption, spend two years living with the adopting parent, or be a relative of the adoptee.

Illinois offers both open and closed adoptions, in which the child’s natural parents may communicate with the adoptive parents, or even the child following the adoption; or the adoptive parents may choose to end all relations with the birth parents completely. An open adoption is often a wise choice on behalf of the child, since it helps prevent any identity crises that may occur from discovering their parentage later in life, and can help the child understand the circumstances of their adoption.

Adoptive parents do not have to be married to adopt a child, though they must be an Illinois resident for at least six months. Also, partners in marriage must both take part in an adoption; a married person cannot adopt a child without the participation of their spouse.

Divorce

Illinois courts allow for both fault and no-fault divorces. In the case of a fault divorce, one spouse sues another for damages if they believe the other spouse is completely responsible for the breakdown of the marriage. In Illinois, grounds for finding fault with a spouse include infidelity, drug or alcohol abuse, physical or mental abuse toward a spouse, committing a criminal offense of at least a certain degree of severity, or infecting the spouse with a sexually transmitted disease. A spouse may sue for divorce due to any of these reasons, and may be awarded damages in a court sentencing or out-of-court settlement. However, these damages are typically awarded in a civil case brought about by the abused spouse, and are separate from the divorce case.

For a no-fault divorce to be granted in Illinois the couple must prove that their marriage is irreparably broken; that they are suffering from what is commonly referred to as “irreconcilable differences”. However, this process takes at least two years, during which the couple must be legally separated and living in separate residences. This can be reduced to six months if the couple agrees that their marriage is irreparable and document this agreement in writing with a court official.

Illinois also offers the option of a “simple” divorce, in which both parties agree that no alimony will be paid to either, and they do not have any children from the marriage. There must be absolutely no discrepancy between the parties in the appropriation of property for a simple divorce to proceed.

Page 4 of 5

Child Custody

Both sole and joint custody are options for divorcing parents in Illinois. Within joint custody there are the sub-categories of shared custody and split custody. In the case of shared custody children are either under the physical custody of one parent, with both sharing decision-making responsibilities, or they are in joint physical custody, in which a period of time is spent with one parent, and another period of time is spent with another parent, such as weekdays versus weekends. Split custody involves multiple children, with each parent having full physical custody of one child or children, and the other parent having full physical custody another child or children. This is not typically recommended, however, since most courts wish to keep siblings together.

In Illinois courts the child’s wishes must be taken into consideration, but they are not the deciding factor in where the child will live. The parents and the judge have the most responsibility in making that decision.

In general, a court will wish to allow both parents to spend as much time as possible with their children. However, in Illinois a presiding judge in a custody battle is the end-all be-all power in deciding the outcome. They have every right to rule against the wishes of a parent if they feel the child’s best interest is in jeopardy. If a parent is deemed unfit or is attempting to prevent the other parent from spending time with the child, the judge can reduce or remove their custody rights.

Child Support

Child support payments in Illinois are a percentage determined by the number of children in question and the net income of the non-custodial parent. The net-income can consist of a dizzying multitude of factors aside from just the monthly salary, including certain tax refunds, gambling winnings, pensions, and even certain kinds of gifts. It’s important to contact an experienced lawyer when negotiating child support payments, as they can inform you what funds you are and are not responsible to surrender.

When ruling on child support, it is required in the state of Illinois for the awarded monetary amount to be expressly spelled out in the order.

In the state of Illinois child support payments are always subject to change. Should circumstances of the child, custodial parent, or non-custodial parent change, modifying in the appropriation of payments may be in order. However, this is best done in court, so an experienced attorney is usually needed. Though this is historically atypical, an increase in a custodial parent’s financial situation may reduce the payments made by a non-custodial parent. Also, a custodial parent is typically not required to disclose the ways in which support payments are employed.

Though child support typically ends when the child comes of age (18 years old), an Illinois court can appropriate support funds from parents for the child’s college education. The amount of payments made by each parent is not subject to an income percentage prescribed by Illinois law, but rather the judgment of the court.

Page 5 of 5

Spousal Support

In Illinois there are three forms of spousal support; permanent, lump sum, and rehabilitative. Permanent typically extends for the remainder of either of the spouse’s natural lives. Permanent alimony is usually only awarded to spouses who are unable to support themselves in their previous standard of living, or to spouses who divorce later in life.

Lump sum, or “in gross” alimony is one or several large payments made to the dependent spouse at the time of the divorce. Lump-sum payments are typically tax-free.

Rehabilitative support is a series of payments after the divorce to allow the dependent spouse to receive necessary training or education for finding an adequately-paid job, as well as the time needed for securing that job.

Support payments can be modified if the independent spouse encounters an unforeseen reduction in income, such as getting laid off when their company chooses to downsize. However, if an independent spouse voluntarily quits their job in the hopes of reducing their alimony payments, a judge will usually not modify the sentence.

Adoption

Any individual may be legally adopted in Illinois, including adults. However, adults must consent to the adoption, spend two years living with the adopting parent, or be a relative of the adoptee.

Illinois offers both open and closed adoptions, in which the child’s natural parents may communicate with the adoptive parents, or even the child following the adoption; or the adoptive parents may choose to end all relations with the birth parents completely. An open adoption is often a wise choice on behalf of the child, since it helps prevent any identity crises that may occur from discovering their parentage later in life, and can help the child understand the circumstances of their adoption.

Adoptive parents do not have to be married to adopt a child, though they must be an Illinois resident for at least six months. Also, partners in marriage must both take part in an adoption; a married person cannot adopt a child without the participation of their spouse.

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