Family Law Frequently Asked Questions
At the beginning of the divorce process, parties often have more questions than answers. That’s OK. At Blacha Law Office, our attorneys are ready to address your questions and provide you as much information as possible on all aspects of divorce and other family law matters.
We address some frequently asked questions here, but we welcome the opportunity to meet with you to review the specific facts of your situation and answer your questions. Call 630-283-1987 or use our online contact form to schedule a meeting.
Q: What are the grounds for divorce in Illinois?
A: As of Jan. 1, 2016, Illinois is a “no-fault” state. That means the only grounds for divorce are irreconcilable differences. Before that date, there were 10 “fault” grounds for divorce, such as adultery, physical cruelty and mental cruelty. A judge in a divorce case must determine that “efforts at reconciliation have failed,” or that future efforts “would be impracticable and not in the best interests of the family.” In order to prove irreconcilable differences, one only needs to show that you have lived separate and apart from your spouse for a continuous period of at least six months. Parties can live under the same roof and still live separate lives.
Q: How long must I live in Illinois in order to get divorced in the state?
A: One party in an Illinois divorce must live in the state for a minimum of 90 days before a judgment is granted. You may file for divorce earlier than 90 days.
Q: How is custody determined in divorce or the end of a nonmarital relationship?
A: Many parties in divorce refer to “custody” and “visitation.” However, in 2016, the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act was updated to remove these terms. Decisions regarding where minor children spend their days and nights is now referred to as “allocation of parenting time and responsibility.” One goal of this change was to reduce the number of arguments and the intensity of arguments about who was designated the “custodial parent.”
In determining parenting time and responsibility, Illinois courts act in the best interests of the child. Ideally, the parents do so as well. It is hoped that parents will negotiate in good faith to reach an agreement regarding parenting time and responsibility. We believe that parents are more likely to abide by a parenting time agreement if they have a role in creating it.
If the parties involved cannot reach an agreement, and one cannot be reached through mediation, the court will determine how to divide parenting time and parenting responsibility (the latter being the right to participate in major decisions regarding education, medical care, religious upbringing, etc.). Experts may be consulted and a guardian ad litem may be assigned to represent the child in these situations.
Q: What are the options if someone willfully disregards an existing court order regarding parenting time, child support, spousal maintenance or any other order?
A: In an acrimonious divorce, one party may feel he or she was not treated fairly and ignore a court order. In some instances, a person may claim he or she does not have the financial means to pay ordered support. However, each party has a legal obligation to adhere to all court-ordered decrees. A noncompliant spouse may be found in contempt of court. A family law attorney can help you take the necessary steps to enforce the order. A person who has the means to fulfill his or her obligation may be sent to jail.
If a person who is noncompliant with a court order claims to be unable to comply due to lack of funds, that person must file a petition to formally modify the existing order.
We Are Ready To Answer Your Questions
We welcome the opportunity to answer your questions about divorce. To meet with a lawyer for a free consultation, call 630-283-1987 or email the firm. We have offices in Naperville, Joliet and Chicago, and we serve clients in DuPage, Cook, Kane, Kendall and Will counties. Fluent in Polish.