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The 4 Main Issues to Settle in a Divorce

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Divorce opens up a range of personal and financial issues. Despite the seemingly endless nuances considered in a divorce case, four issues are considered as most important. The main issues to be settled in a divorce are property division, parental responsibilities, child support and spousal maintenance.

  1. Property DivisionProperty-Division-Divorce

A divorce alters the legal status of properties. Illinois follows an equitable distribution approach, meaning that property is divided fairly—but not necessarily equally—between the divorcing spouses. Instead of a 50/50 split, Illinois courts evaluate several factors in order to come to a decision.

The Illinois judge will take into account the arrangements as detailed in a prenuptial agreement. Each spouse’s health, age, vocational skills, occupation, and employability are also considered. Relevant factors include each spouse’s debts and financial needs. The length of the marriage is examined.

The Illinois courts consider whether or not one spouse is receiving spousal support, any spousal responsibilities from prior marriages (such as child support) and the contributions either spouse made to the acquisition or preservation of the marital property (homemaker contributions are factored in).

If divorcing spouses cannot afford to keep the marital home, the Illinois judge will order the house to be sold as quickly as possible; proceeds from the sale will be divided equitably. A judge might award the home to the custodial parent to provide a stable environment for the children.

  1. Parental ResponsibilitiesMother-Daughter-Smiling-Laughing

Parental responsibility and parenting time are what the Illinois courts now assign (as opposed to sole and joint custody in the years prior to 2016). A judge will step in when divorcing parents are unable to agree on major issues surrounding the children’s upbringing.

When parental responsibilities are allocated, one or both parents make decisions about the children’s healthcare, education, religious upbringing, and extracurricular activities. Effective since 2016, Illinois’ Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act defines the extent of decision making between divorcing parents.

For example, in an Illinois divorce, an allocation judgement could allow the children’s father to make all decisions about their education; the mother would make all decisions about the children’s religious upbringing. Decisions about the children’s healthcare could be made jointly by both parents.

Another way Illinois courts could divide parental responsibilities is to give the mother the decision-making power in all even-numbered years and the father in all odd-numbered years. Illinois laws encourage maximum cooperation and involvement from both parents in the upbringing of children.

  1. Child Support

The right to receive child support is a right of the child—not the parents. Consequently, any agreements into which divorcing parents enter must follow guidelines as established by Illinois laws and be approved of by the courts. Both parents are responsible for contributing financially to raising their children.

Prior to 2017, Illinois courts utilized a percentage formula to calculate child support. Since then, an income shares model has been in force. Illinois’ income shares model factors in the incomes of both parents plus how much the parents would have spent on their children if they shared finances.

Illinois judges must follow the state’s approved formula when calculating child support. Deviations from the formula may be made if the calculated amounts do not fully address the children’s needs. Expenses for daycare, private school tuition and healthcare may be added, for instance.

Further examples of reasonable deviations include adding extra child support for children who have special needs or if the parent has extraordinary medical expenses. A high-income parent may pay more than what is outlined in the guidelines, while a low-income parent might pay less.

  1. Spousal MaintenanceDivorce-Attorney-Gavel

Alimony is another term for spousal maintenance, whereby one spouse makes payments to the other during or after divorce. Spousal support is appropriate when one spouse is a high earner and the other is not. The goal of alimony is to maintain the financial situation of both parties after divorce.

Temporary alimony is usually awarded when Illinois divorce cases are pending. The courts evaluate each spouse’s income, whether or not the spouse will pay child support and whether or not either spouse needs financial assistance prior to arriving at a decision regarding spousal maintenance.

Once the divorce is finalized and the judge creates a new order, the temporary support ceases. A spouse may be ordered to permanently support the other spouse, and such scenarios are typically when the spouse is unable to self-support after divorce (due to age, illness, or other conditions).

When deciding alimony, Illinois judges will evaluate several factors. Each spouse’s need for support is key, as is the earning potential of each spouse. The courts will examine how much time the requesting party needs to gain training to become employable. The length of marriage is also considered.

Work with a Divorce AttorneyBerry-K.-Tucker-Personal-Injury-Lawyer-Oak-Lawn-IL

When divorce is imminent, the abovementioned issues will have to be settled. In order to reach your goals in court, you need an experienced and knowledgeable divorce attorney from Berry K. Tucker & Associates, Ltd. on your side. We will help you navigate the complexities of Illinois divorce laws.

The reputable firm of divorce attorneys at Berry K. Tucker & Associates, Ltd. brings over fifty years of combined experience in family law. We have successfully handled cases involving the allocation of parental responsibilities, child support, division of property and spousal support (also known as alimony or maintenance).

Our divorce lawyers will skillfully represent you when post-decree issues arise, including changes to marital status, your child’s needs, and income. Notify us when an ex-spouse does not meet spousal obligations per the divorce decree, and we will work to ensure your needs continue to be met.

Get a Free Consultation

When you seek a strong legal partnership in the Oak Lawn, IL area, consult Berry K. Tucker & Associates, Ltd. at (708) 425-9530.

Our divorce lawyers dedicate time and attention to the details of your case so that you receive maximum benefit in court. If you reside in Oak Lawn, Illinois, and are anticipating a divorce, choose us for competitive representation.

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