Questions About Divorce, Dissolution, Legal Separation

Serving Waukegan, Libertyville, Lake County, Gurnee & nearby areas of Illinois

How does a legal separation differ from divorce proceedings?

There is a difference between divorce and a legal separation. A legal separation is a legal proceeding which allows an individual living separate and apart from his or her spouse, without fault, to request reasonable support and/or maintenance (formerly known as alimony) from his or her spouse.

These days, a legal separation proceeding is not particularly common, but may be entered into for the following purposes:

  1. to provide child support to the spouse with the care of the children
  2. to provide maintenance or spousal support to the spouse who is unemployed or in receipt of a smaller income than the other spouse
  3. to provide a continuation of health insurance to a spouse

It is important in all legal proceedings that a party have competent legal representation to ensure that your interests are protected during the course of these proceedings.

How does a Court determine appropriate child support in the State of Illinois?

Illinois state law provides that both parents have a legal obligation to financially support their dependent children.  Child support paid by a party is to be used by the receiving parent for food, shelter, clothing and related expenses for the minor child.

In determining the appropriate amount of child support, a Court uses the minimum statutory guidelines as set forth by Illinois State statute.  The child support guidelines provide as follows:

  1. 1 child — 20% of the paying parent’s net income
  2. 2 children — 28% of the paying parent’s net income
  3. 3 children — 32% of the paying parent’s net income
  4. 4 children — 40% of the paying parent’s net income
  5. 5 children — 45% of the paying parent’s net income
  6. 6 children — 50% of the paying parent’s net income

In order to determine a parent’s net income, Illinois law provides that the Court takes the paying parent’s total income from all sources and deducts certain items including federal taxes, state taxes, social security (FICA) payments, mandatory retirement contributions, union dues, dependent and individual health/hospitalization insurance premiums and prior child support or maintenance payments made based upon a court order. 

What types of custody are provided for through Illinois State laws?

Illinois statutes provide for two types of child custody including sole custody and joint custody.  The major difference between sole and joint custody is joint decision-making.  In an award of joint custody, parties share joint responsibility in making major decisions regarding the children’s religion, education and medical needs.  In a sole custody award, the party awarded sole custody does not share any joint decisions with the other parent.  However, the parent remains entitled to receive information concerning the children’s school, medical, dental and related needs, may have contact with all appropriate providers and a visitation schedule.

What is mediation and what are the advantages of using mediation during a divorce proceeding?

Mediation is a form of dispute resolution in which the parties work with a trained mediator who assists the parties in looking at options available to them in order to resolve their divorce case.  Mediation allows the parties maximum control and input into the resolution of their case as opposed to having a Judge enter a final ruling on their case.  Mediation can assist the parties in reaching a mutually agreed upon resolution and it allows the parties to keep costs down.

What is the difference between “fault” divorce and “no-fault” divorce?

Fault refers to the reasons why individuals are requesting a divorce.  Fault grounds (or reasons) include mental cruelty, physical cruelty, adultery, desertion among other reasons.  No fault refers to irreconcilable differences.  This ground provides that parties had differences in their relationship, they attempted to work through those differences, those attempts failed and future attempts are not in the best interests of the family.  Parties filing under irreconcilable differences must allege that they have been living separate and apart for more than two years or agree in writing that they have lived separate and apart for more than six months.

For more infomation about Divorce or Child Custody please contact the Waukegan and Lake County divorce attorneys at Thaddeus M. Bond, Jr. & Associates, P.C. We're here to help you thorugh this difficult transition. Serving clients throughout Wisconsin and Illinois.