Illinois Family Law Information FAQ
Frequently Asked Questions about Illinois Family Law
Q: What is the legal definition of marriage?
A: In Illinois, marriage is defined as a civil contract between two people of the opposite sex, who have the legal rights to marry each other, based on Illinois State laws. Once a marriage license has been obtained and authorized by a church or state authority, the union becomes official, either through a civil ceremony or a holy matrimony.
Although same sex marriages are still up for debate, Illinois allows homosexual couples to have legal rights and responsibilities similar to those in a marriage, by way of civil unions.
If you are getting married in the state of Illinois or would like to learn more about your marriage rights, contact the Wheaton law firm of Mirabella, Kincaid, Frederick &Mirabella, LLC.
Q: What are the legal effects of marriage?
A: Federal and state laws, allow Illinois married couples many different benefits, including:
- The right to file joint income tax returns.
- Create a family limited partnership (FLP), where family members can divide business income and can reduce federal estate taxes by transferring certain assets.
- The right to receive insurance, disability, military, wage and retirement benefits.
Q: What is a legal divorce?
A: In Illinois, a divorce or “dissolution of marriage” is when two people decide to terminate their marital union and responsibilities to each other, through the legal process of divorce litigation, mediation, or collaborative law. Disputes over marital property, child support, and maintenance are just some of the issues that can be resolved with the help of an experienced divorce attorney.
Q: What is a no-fault divorce?
A: When someone files for a no-fault divorce in Illinois, any marital misconduct, such as adultery or domestic abuse, becomes irrelevant in a divorce proceeding and may not be used to deny one spouse custody and visitation rights, or from receiving equitable property distribution.
Beginning in 2016, all Illinois divorces will be granted on the “no-fault” grounds of irreconcilable differences.
Q: When parents can't reach an agreement on custody or parenting responsibilities, what standards do courts use to decide with whom the children should live?
A: When parents cannot agree on child custody matters, now known as allocation of parental responisbilities, the court will consider what is in the best interests of the child. Some of the determining factors a judge will consider are the age of the child; the relationship the child has to each parent; the financial, mental, and physical ability each parent has to take care of the child; and the child's wishes. The court will also take into account the ability and willingness of the parents to work together and to facilitate the child's relationship with the other parent.
Q: What impact should a child's age have on custody and visitation scheduling?
A: Some experts in Illinois believe a child's age determines how much time should be allotted with each parent. Depending on the parenting skills, visitation schedules are adjusted to meet the needs of the child with respect to their age.
Q: Can I terminate visitation if I am not being paid the support I am owed?
A: No. Illinois child support laws and visitation rights are two separate legal matters. Therefore, you cannot terminate visitation or parenting time based on lack of child support payments owed to you.
Q: How is child support determined?
A: Child support in Illinois can be determined by the supporting parent's income, how many children need support, the cost of education, and contributions made by each parent for out-of-pocket expenses.
Q: Can I get child support if I never married my child's other parent?
A: If you are the biological parent of the child and paternity has been established, then yes; you have the right to seek child support regardless if you were married to the child's parent or not.
Contact an Illinois family law attorney at 630-665-7300 to help you protect your rights in all family law matters.