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NOTE: A new Illinois law governing how child support is calculated went into effect in July 2017. Please visit our child support page for details

child support, Illinois child support law, child support lawyer, Illinois family lawyer, DuPage County family lawWhen parties going through a divorce have children, the issue of child support will inevitably arise. How child support is calculated is different in each state; some have complicated formulas which are difficult for parties to understand. The Illinois child support statutes are relatively straightforward, from a legal perspective. While there are some gray areas which allow room for argument regarding support, a skilled family law attorney can make the process of calculating child support relatively easy.

Illinois statute 750 ILCS 5/505 defines a child, with respect to child support, as one “under 18 or any child under 19 still in High School.” The statute further states that parents have a duty of support owed to a child which includes an obligation to provide for “reasonable and necessary educational, physical, mental, and emotional health needs of the child.” Although both parents technically owe a duty of support, the non-custodial parent (or non-residential parent) often ends up as the payor of support to the custodial/residential parent (the parent with whom a child or children primarily resides).

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no fault divorce, fault divorce, reason for divorce, Illinois divorce lawyer, divorce attorneyDivorce can be a difficult and emotional process. Property is separated, child custody is decided, and the two spouses go their separate ways.

Some states' divorce statutes require a party to plead grounds for a divorce (in other words, a basis for the court to grant a divorce), such as mental or physical cruelty, attempted murder, adultery, desertion or abandonment, drug addiction, or habitual drunkenness. However, in many other states, including Illinois, a party is allowed to ask the court for a divorce without providing a substantial basis for it. This is known as proceeding under the grounds of “irreconcilable differences,” and is commonly referred to as a no-fault divorce. Using irreconcilable differences as a means to be granted a divorce, however, is more complex than simply asking for a no-fault divorce.

Requirements of a No Fault Divorce

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In November, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn signed a bill legalizing same-sex marriages in Illinois. While Illinois previously allowed same-sex couples to participate in civil unions, Senate Bill 0010 now allows them to obtain the legal status marriage provides.

This legal status provides several benefits that civil unions don't necessarily provide. For example, a married spouse will be guaranteed the right to make medical decisions for an incapacitated spouse without having to provide a signed power of attorney. This also guarantees employment benefits for same-sex spouses, when such benefits depend on the couple being married. When added to the federal same-sex protections, such as social security survivors' and spousal benefits, marriage-based immigration rights, and federal spousal employment benefits, Illinois same-sex couples will now be guaranteed the full spectrum of rights, responsibilities, and privileges given to heterosexual married couples.

 Same-sex couples in Illinois may begin marrying as soon as June 1, 2014 (though for those couples facing terminal illness, marriage licenses may be issued sooner in some counties). Those couples who are currently in civil unions who may wish to convert their union to a marriage will be able to do so by applying for a marriage license; returning the signed marriage certificate to the county clerk's office will officially solemnize the marriage.

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As more women take on roles outside the home than ever before, female breadwinners are becoming more common in U.S. families. While this is certainly something to celebrate for those women who are increasing their earnings and career potential, it is also creating some unique challenges for the modern family. The Pew Research Center recently published findings showing that women are now the primary breadwinners in 40 percent of families—a dramatic difference from 11 percent of families in 1960. This change in income dynamics can cause conflict, arguments between spouses, and even a higher likelihood ofdivorce.

Some research has identified that divorce rates are higher—up to perhaps even 50% higher—for couples where the female out-earns her male partner. Certainly, gender roles in the home are changing as some families make the decision that the male will stay at home and care for the house and any children. Some couples may find the change of pace refreshing, flexible, and accommodating; on the other hand, this arrangement may be difficult for particular couples to adjust to and may bother certain partners. Women can potentially feel overloaded with responsibility, and can be made to feel as though they must choose between their family and their career. Men may potentially feel threatened by a female partner who earns more money and resent her position. These stressors can cause arguments and disagreements between spouses and can cause serious conflict in a marriage.

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social media & divorceFacebook now boasts over one billion users worldwide, and Twitter hosts more than 50 million tweets per day. In an age where so much information is shared online, and with so many potential ramifications because of that outpouring of information, it is of the utmost importance to maintain some privacy if you are considering filing for divorce.

Information that you or your spouse post on Facebook, Twitter, or other social networking websites may be discoverable and used as evidence in divorce proceedings. Because of the sheer volume of information we've started to share online, the amount of information that can be used against you or your spouse is potentially quite vast. This can include information or documentation relating to drug or alcohol use, romantic involvements, information on new partners, negative comments about a spouse, money and other assets spent on affairs, documentation of how assets are being used, and even potential evidence of hidden assets. All of this information can have a significant impact on a divorce case. In a study from the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, the organization found that 80 percent of surveyed lawyers used Facebook data in preparing divorce cases, and 66 percent considered Facebook the most important source of evidence in divorce cases.

Some issues are particularly susceptible to influence from social media. For example, information on social media is helping practitioners and spouses support claims for dissipation. Dissipation is a concept wherein a spouse uses marital funds for a non-marital purpose after the point in time when the marriage has undergone an irretrievable breakdown (for example, a spouse spends marital funds on gambling or extra-marital affairs). This affects the amount of marital property a court can award to the spouses, and the courts may therefore penalize the dissipating spouse in the property distribution. Social media is an excellent way for a spouse to discover these potential sources of dissipation, including discovering affairs their spouse may be involved in (and the marital funds that may be spent on such a romantic involvement).

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From our law office in Wheaton, IL the family law and civil litigation law attorneys of Mirabella, Kincaid, Frederick and Mirabella, represent businesses and individual clients throughout the western suburbs of Chicago, Illinois including Wheaton, Naperville, Oak Brook, Glen Ellyn, Carol Stream, Lombard, Downers Grove, Burr Ridge, Lisle, Elmhurst, Oakbrook Terrace, Winfield, Woodridge, Warrenville and throughout DuPage, Kane and Kendall Counties.

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In honor of the passing of our founder, Joseph F. Mirabella, Jr., our offices are closed Friday, January 31, 2020.I Agree