Child custody and divorce can be complex and contentious legal issues. Emotions run high even in the most amicable circumstances. You need guidance from an experienced attorney who understands all the nuances of Illinois family law and an attorney who can help you plan for the future after your divorce is final.
At Dolci & Weiland, our attorneys are sensitive to your needs and we strive to reach your optimal outcome with our results-driven approach. We understand how much you have at stake, so we fight to protect your best interests through your divorce, child custody dispute, adoption, estate planning, or other family law matter.
We currently represent our clients in the following:
Divorce in Illinois
When you face a divorce, our attorneys understand that your case is unique, so we listen closely to your wishes to build the strongest settlement for you. A mishandled divorce can have long-term detrimental effects on your finances.
Illinois has three types of divorce: Joint Simplified Dissolution of Marriage (simple divorce), Uncontested Divorce, and Contested Divorce.
If you are considering filing for divorce, you must have been an Illinois resident for at least 90 days and you must live separate and apart from your spouse for at least six months before filing, but this can be waived in some circumstances. As of 2016, Illinois is a no-fault divorce state, so the only grounds for divorce are irreconcilable differences, meaning that your marriage is irretrievably broken.
Your attorney can file your divorce in the circuit court where either spouse resides.
Property division can be extremely contentious. Everything you and your spouse own is either "marital property" or "non-marital property." Marital property is any assets that the couple acquired during their marriage. Non-marital property includes any assets each individual had before marriage, gifts, and property acquired through inheritance. Illinois is an equitable distribution state, so the Court distributes marital property equitably –not necessarily equally –between the spouses. Or, you and your spouse can reach an agreement regarding how property will be divided.
Illinois Divorce Maintenance
Commonly called alimony or spousal support, maintenance is financial support paid over time from one former spouse to the other. This is calculated separately from child support. The Court considers nine different factors when determining maintenance:
- Income and property of each party
- Needs of each party
- Realistic earning capacity of each party
- Age and health of each party
- Marital standard of living
- Complexity of the marriage dissolution
- Each party's access to relevant information
- Attorney's fees for the other party
- Any other factor that the Court finds just and equitable
Division of Retirement Accounts
In your divorce, you may be seeking a portion of your spouse's retirement account or trying to protect yours from them. The judge must determine if the retirement accounts are marital or non-marital property. If the judge determines your retirement accounts are marital property, they are subject to equitable division.
Custody of a Pet
If you acquired a pet during your marriage, that pet may be marital property. Courts may issue orders granting custody of a pet to one or both parties if the pet is marital property. The judge must determine if joint or sole custody is in the animal's best interest. Service animals are not subject to joint custody even if they were acquired during the marriage. They remain the property of the person they serve.
Child Custody in Illinois
In 2016, Illinois eliminated the terms "custody" and "visitation." Instead, the court specifies parental responsibilities and parenting time in a Parenting Plan. This will include when the child will spend time with each parent and which parent will make each major life decision for the child.
If the parents cannot agree on a Parenting Plan, the Court will allocate parenting time based on the best interests of the child. The child may be represented by a guardian ad litem and experts will evaluate the child's living situation. At trial, both parents will present their position, and the judge will make a determination.
Child Support in DuPage and Chicago
Child support is payment from one parent to the other to cover their portion of the financial costs of raising a child. As of 2017, the child support guidelines consider the income of both parents when determining the child support amount, rather than just the income of the parent ordered to pay. The obligation to pay is divided based on each parent's net income.
Illinois recognizes fives types of adoption:
- Related Adoption: One of the adopting parents is related to the child being adopted. This includes step-parent adoption.
- Agency Adoption: The biological parents legally give their child to an agency or the Court terminates the biological parent's rights, and the agency has the legal right to find adoptive parents for the child.
- Private Adoption: The biological parents do not place the child with an agency, and neither adoptive parent is related to the child.
- Adoption of an Adult: A person over age 18 is adopted.
- Standby Adoption: The child's parent is terminally ill and agrees to have the child adopted by a person when they become too ill to care for the child or upon their death.
To adopt a child in Illinois, a person cannot have a legal disability, must have lived in the state for at least six months, and have a good reputation.
Estate Planning and Trusts
Anyone with assets needs to plan what will happen to their estate upon their death, regardless of their age. The attorneys at Dolci & Weiland can prepare a will and/or living trust for your estate and update these important documents as your life changes.
Contact an Experienced Chicago and DuPage County Family Law Attorney
Illinois family law issues are highly emotional and have significant impacts on your future. Whether you are facing a divorce, need to negotiate a Parenting Plan, want to adopt a child, or are ready to plan your estate, the seasoned attorneys at Dolci & Weiland are ready to help you. Our attorneys understand the nuances of Illinois family law and are dedicated to protecting your best interests.
To speak to a member of our legal team today, fill out an online case evaluation form or contact the office closest to you today. For our DuPage office, call (630) 261-9098, or for our downtown Chicago location, call (312) 238-9007.