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 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.
Same-sex marriages have been made legal throughout the United States. Illinois also allows same-sex and opposite-sex couples to enter into civil unions, which will provide them with legal rights and responsibilities similar to those in a marriage.
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 provide Illinois married couples with 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” occurs 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 spousal 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.
Since 2016, all Illinois divorces are 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 responsibilities, 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 specific circumstances of a case, including each parent's history of providing care for children and their ability to provide a safe environment where children can live, parenting time schedules may be 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 parenting time rights are two separate legal matters. Therefore, you cannot terminate visitation or parenting time based on lack of child support payments owed to you. However, you can take action to enforce child support orders and collect payments that are owed through methods such as wage garnishment. Willful violations of child support orders may result in the other parent being held in contempt of court, and they could lose their driver's license, be required to pay fines, or even face jail time.
Q: How is child support determined?
A: Following the implementation of the new Illinois child support law in July 2017, child support in Illinois uses in income sharing model, with the amount of child support being determined each parent's income and their amount of parenting time and responsibility. Additional child support costs may include 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 you have the right to seek child support regardless of whether you were married to the child's other parent or not.
Contact Our DuPage County Family Law Attorneys
Contact an Illinois family law attorney at 630-665-7300 to help you protect your rights in all family law matters.