Divorce in Illinois is referred to as Dissolution of Marriage.
To file for Dissolution in Illinois, one of the spouses must be a resident of Illinois for at least 90 days
If the filing spouse has lived in the state for at least 90 days, but the other spouse never lived in Illinois or has never committed an act inside Illinois which would cause him/her to come under the jurisdiction of the court, although a court may grant a divorce, it does not have jurisdiction to order the non-resident spouse to do anything, such as pay child support, transfer property, or pay debts.
Any person who enters into a civil union in Illinois consents to the jurisdiction of the courts of the state for the purpose of any action relating to a civil union even if one or both parties cease to reside in the state.
A Petition for Dissolution of Marriage may be filed in the circuit court in the county where either spouse resides. The Plaintiff, the filing spouse, must file a copy of the Petition on the Respondent, the other spouse. The Respondent has 30 days after being served to file an Answer to the Petition.
The provisions of the Civil Practice Law shall apply to all proceedings for Dissolution of a Civil Union. A proceeding for dissolution of a civil union or declaration of invalidity of a civil union shall be entitled "In re the Civil Union of ... and ...".
The initial pleading in all proceedings for dissolution or invalidity shall be termed a Petition. A responsive pleading shall be termed a Response. All other pleadings shall be denominated as provided in the Civil Practice Law.
The proceedings shall be had in the county where the Petitioner or Respondent resides or where the parties' certificate of civil union was issued, except as otherwise provided herein, but process may be directed to any county in the State. Objection to venue is barred if not made within such time as the Respondent's response is due. In no event shall venue be deemed jurisdictional.
Illinois Joint Simplified Dissolution Procedure:
Illinois provides for a streamlined, simplified dissolution procedure called the Illinois Joint Simplified Dissolution Procedure, if all the following conditions exist when the couple files.
If the couple meets these criteria, it may file the necessary paperwork with the court and set a hearing. If all requirements are met, the court will enter a judgment granting the dissolution.
In an action for Dissolution of Marriage involving minor children, or in a post-judgment proceeding involving minor children, the court reserves the right to order the parents to attend an educational program concerning the effects of dissolution of marriage on the children.
The program may be divided into sessions, which shall not exceed a combined total of four hours. The program will be educational in nature and is not designed for individual therapy. The fees or costs of these educational sessions will be paid by the parents.
Upon request by a wife whose marriage is dissolved or declared invalid, the court shall order that her maiden name or former name be restored.
The Illinois Religious Freedom Protection and Civil Union Act went into effect on June 1, 2011, making civil unions legal in the state of Illinois. This law allows same-sex and heterosexual couples to enter into civil unions and grants them the same legal obligations, responsibilities, protections and benefits provided to spouses in a marriage, whether they come from statute, administrative rule, policy, common law, or any other source of civil or criminal law.
The law defines a civil union as a legal relationship between two persons, of either the same or opposite sex, established pursuant to the applicable law. It also allows for the use of the term, "party to a civil union", interchangeably with "spouse", "family", "immediate family", "dependent", "next of kin", and other terms that are meant to signify the spousal relationship.
A marriage between persons of the same sex, a civil union, or a substantially similar legal relationship other than common law marriage, legally entered into in another jurisdiction, shall be recognized in Illinois as a civil union.
Establishing a Civil Union
To establish a civil union in Illinois, the parties must meet the following requirements:
When an application has been completed and signed by both parties, applicable fees have been paid, and both parties have appeared before the county clerk, the county clerk shall issue a license and a certificate of civil union upon being furnished satisfactory proof that the civil union is not prohibited.
The license becomes effective in the county where it was issued one day after the date of issuance, and expires 60 days after it becomes effective. The certificate must be completed and returned to the county clerk that issued the license within 10 days of the civil union.
A civil union may be certified by any of the following:
Illinois provides for several fault-based grounds for divorce and one no-fault method. The legal grounds for dissolution in the state are as follows:
If the parties have lived separate and apart for a continuous period of at least six months before the entry of judgment dissolving the marriage, the two year minimum requirement may be waived upon written stipulation of both spouses filed with the court.
Civil Union Dissolutions:
A court shall enter a judgment of dissolution of a civil union if at the time the action is commenced it meets the grounds for dissolution set forth in the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act. The provisions for Dissolution of Marriage shall also apply to a Dissolution of a Civil Union.
Formerly referred to as Annulment, this action is now known as a Declaration of Invalidity of Marriage.
A party may seek a Declaration of Invalidity of Marriage if one of the following conditions is met:
Action for Declaration of Invalidity of Marriage may not be brought under these grounds after the death of the other spouse.
A suit may also be brought on the grounds of bigamy, for up to three years after the death of the first party to die by either party, the legal spouse in the case of bigamy, or the State's Attorney.
Prohibited Civil Unions
The provisions of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act related to declaring a marriage invalid shall also apply to the declaration of invalidity of a civil union.
Illinois is an equitable distribution state, which means marital property will be divided fairly and equitably, although not necessarily equally. Marital property is generally considered all property acquired by either spouse after the marriage.
All pension benefits, including those under the Illinois Pension Code, acquired by either spouse after the marriage presumed to be marital property, regardless of which spouse participates in the pension plan, unless these benefits were acquired by a method listed below as non-marital property.
All stock options granted to either spouse after the marriage, whether vested or non-vested or whether their value is able to be determined, are presumed to be marital property, unless they were acquired by a method listed below as non-marital property.
Non-marital property is defined as follows:
If non-marital property is commingled with marital property is may be transmuted to marital property.
The division of marital property shall be divided, without regard to marital misconduct, in just proportions with consideration of the following criteria:
If the court deems it necessary to protect and promote the best interests of the children, it may set aside a portion of the jointly or separately held estates of the parties in a separate fund or trust for the support, maintenance, education, physical and mental health, and general welfare of any minor, dependent, or incompetent child of the parties.
In an action for dissolution of marriage, legal separation, or declaration of invalidity of marriage the court may grant a temporary or permanent maintenance award for either spouse in amounts and for periods of time as determined by the court, without regard to marital misconduct.
Maintenance awards are determined with consideration of the following factors:
No maintenance shall accrue during the period in which a paying spouse is incarcerated for failure to comply with the court's order for the payment of this maintenance.
Although a couple may obtain a divorce in Illinois if one of the spouses has lived in the state for 90 days, the court may not grant either spouse custody of children of the marriage unless the children have lived in Illinois for six consecutive months.
Custody in Illinois is based on the best interests of the child(ren). When making this determination, the court shall consider all relevant factors, including the following:
Joint custody is generally the preferred form of child custody if the court determines that it would be in the best interest of the child(ren), while considering the following factors:
Joint custody does not imply equal parenting time. The physical residence of the child(ren) in joint custodial situations shall be determined by the express agreement of the parents; or an order of the court. A parent who has not been granted custody of his/her child(ren) is entitled to reasonable visitation rights unless the court finds, after a hearing, that visitation would seriously endanger the child's physical, mental, moral or emotional health.
Illinois bases child support guidelines on a Flat Percentage of Income Model. The child support calculations are based on the percentage of the net income of the obligor (the parent who pays the support). The income of the custodial parent is generally not taken into account.
Net income is determined by totaling all income from all sources, minus the following deductions:
The duty of support owed to a child includes the obligation to provide for the reasonable and necessary physical, mental and emotional health needs of the child. For purposes of child support, under Illinois law, a child is defined as any child under the age of 18, or any child under age 19 who is still attending high school.
How much child support a supporting parent pays from his/her net income is determined by statute. Marital misconduct is not a factor. The current percentages follow:
These guidelines shall be applied in each case unless the court makes a finding that they would be inappropriate, after considering the best interests of the child(ren) in light of the following evidence:
If a couple lives separate and apart, any party, without fault, has the right to request and obtain reasonable support and maintenance from the other party. He/she may bring action in circuit court in the county where the Respondent resides or in which the parties last resided together as husband and wife. If the Respondent cannot be found in state, the action may be brought in the circuit court of the county in which the Petitioner lives.
Legal Separation procedures are the same as those for Dissolution of Marriage. A proceeding or judgment for Legal Separation doesn't prohibit either party from seeking an action for Dissolution of Marriage.
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