Q: What is the time frame for the divorce process in Illinois?
A: The time frame for the divorce process in Illinois varies from case to case, usually depending on, among other things, the complexity of the legal issues and whether the parties are able to agree on the outstanding legal issues.
Q: In Illinois, may divorce be based upon irreconcilable differences?
A: Yes, divorce/dissolution of marriage may be based upon irreconcilable differences in Illinois. Irreconcilable differences cause the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage, and the Court determines that efforts at reconciliation have failed or that future attempts at reconciliation would be impracticable and not in the best interests of the family.
Q: What are some of the methods of alternative dispute resolution in matrimonial and family law cases?
A: Two methods of alternative dispute resolution are mediation and collaboration. In mediation, both parties utilize an independent, neutral mediator to reach compromises on legal issues, such as custody and visitation arrangements, or to improve the lines of communication and information exchanges concerning the minor child or children. In collaboration, under certain circumstances, both parties, with the assistance of their respective attorneys, try to resolve their legal issues through cooperation and negotiation in a non-adversarial manner.
Q: In a divorce case, what do the designations of Petitioner and Respondent mean?
A: Generally, the spouse petitioning for the divorce/dissolution of marriage is designated as the Petitioner while the responding spouse is designated as the Respondent.
Q: Before the entry of a Judgment of Dissolution of Marriage, what is temporary relief in a divorce case?
A: Temporary relief in a divorce/dissolution of marriage case, includes, but is not limited to, temporary maintenance, temporary child support, temporary restraining order or preliminary injunction, temporary custody, and temporary exclusive possession of the marital residence.
Q: How is child support determined in Illinois, and what are the Illinois statutory guidelines concerning child support?
A: In a divorce/dissolution of marriage case, the Court may order either or both parents owing a duty of support to a child to pay an amount reasonable and necessary for the child's support. The minimum amount of child support is calculated by applying Illinois statutory guidelines, based upon an established formula accounting for the number of children and the percent of the supporting party's net income.
Q: What is spousal maintenance, and how is spousal maintenance determined in Illinois?
A: Spousal maintenance, formerly known as alimony, is financial support paid by one party to the other. In Illinois, the Court, after considering all relevant factors, may grant a temporary or a permanent maintenance award.
Q: How is property divided or distributed in a divorce case in Illinois?
A: In Illinois, the Court must assign each spouse's non-marital property to that spouse, and the Court must divide the marital property in just proportions after considering all relevant factors. A just proportion, however, does not necessarily mean an equal proportion.
Q: In a divorce case, what is the discovery process?
A: Throughout the discovery process, both parties must make a full and complete disclosure of all assets and properties, in which each party has any interest. The discovery process may involve the utilization of matrimonial interrogatories, requests for production, subpoenas, and depositions.
Q: In high net worth divorce cases, what types of professionals may be utilized concerning the valuation of assets and property?
A: Complex property division in high net worth divorce cases may require the utilization of professionals, including accountants, forensic accountants, actuaries, business evaluators, investigators, and/or real estate appraisers.
Q: What are the possible terms and provisions in a proposed Marital Settlement Agreement?
A: A proposed Marital Settlement Agreement may contain terms and provisions pertaining to child custody and visitation, child support, spousal maintenance, and property disposition. The terms and provisions of a proposed Marital Settlement Agreement cannot be unconscionable.
Q: Are statutory provisions relating to divorce and family law in Illinois changing?
A: Yes, beginning on the effective date of January 1, 2016, many statutory provisions relating to divorce/dissolution of marriage and family law in Illinois will be changing.
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