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The Foray Firm

Will County divorce lawyerEnding a marriage can be a complicated process, especially when the couple has built a life together over many years. However, some people recognize early on that their marriage is not going to work and decide to file for divorce after a short time. If you and your spouse are in agreement about ending your marriage, you may be eligible for a joint simplified dissolution of marriage in Illinois, which can make the process much easier and more efficient.

Joint Simplified Dissolution Criteria

Under Illinois law, there are several qualifications that a couple must fulfill in order to pursue a joint simplified dissolution of marriage. You and your spouse may meet the requirements if:

  • You have been married for less than eight years.
  • One or both of you have been an Illinois resident or stationed in Illinois for military service for at least the past 90 days.
  • You are in agreement that your marriage has broken down due to irreconcilable differences.
  • You do not have any children together and one of you is not currently pregnant.
  • You have reached a written agreement on the ownership of any pets or companion animals.
  • The value of your marital property is less than $50,000, and your assets do not include any real estate property or retirement savings of a combined value of $10,000 or more.
  • Your individual gross annual incomes are both less than $30,000, and your combined gross annual income is less than $60,000.
  • You have disclosed all relevant financial information to each other and reached a written agreement on the allocation of marital debts and any marital assets worth more than $100.
  • You have both waived the right to maintenance, otherwise known as spousal support or alimony.

Reaching a Resolution

Pursuing a joint simplified dissolution of marriage does not mean that you have to waive the right to an attorney, and in fact, it can be quite beneficial to consult with a lawyer before moving forward. An attorney can help you review your case to determine whether you are eligible, and can also advise you of your rights to property and assets to help you protect your interests when negotiating an agreement with your spouse. Attorney fees for a joint simplified dissolution are often much more affordable than for a more complicated divorce, and at The Foray Firm, you may be eligible for a flat fee divorce.

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Will County family law attorneyFor many divorcing parents, decisions related to their children are not only legal matters, but extremely personal matters. This is especially true when it comes to what the children’s living arrangements will be after the divorce, as the outcome can have major ramifications on parent-child relationships and the day-to-day lives of both the parents and the children. As you attempt to resolve the question of parenting time in your divorce, you should consider a few important questions.

Can You Reach an Agreement With Your Spouse?

If you and your spouse are on fairly good terms, you can work together to create a parenting time schedule that meets the needs of the whole family. Doing so can help you save time and stress during the divorce process, and it can also help you be better, more cooperative co-parents after the divorce is complete. As you work toward an agreement, it may be important to discuss who, if anyone, will continue to live in the family home, how parenting time can be balanced with each parent’s work schedule, how you will share holidays and special occasions, and how you will resolve any future disagreements.

What Are the Children’s Best Interests?

When creating a parenting plan, your top priority should be your children’s best interests. If you and your spouse create an agreement together, the court will need to review it to determine whether your children’s interests are protected. If you are not able to agree with your spouse, you will need to prepare to demonstrate in court that your proposed arrangement best meets your children’s needs. Among other things, it is important to consider the living environment in both parents’ homes, the proximity to the children’s school and other important activities, the children’s preferences and unique care needs, and the ability for the children to maintain a relationship with both parents. In some cases, it is also important to consider whether time with a parent could put the children at risk of physical, mental, or emotional harm.

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Joliet family law attorneyThe prospect of getting a divorce can be daunting, not only because of the major life changes it will bring, but also because of the many expenses associated with the process. You may be concerned about how the divorce will affect your financial stability, especially if you are ordered to pay spousal support, otherwise known as alimony or maintenance. You should know that an attorney can help you avoid financial hardship related to a spousal support order both during and after the divorce process.

Will I Be Ordered to Pay Alimony?

Many people are under the assumption that alimony is a part of every divorce resolution, but in Illinois, this is not the case. You will not automatically be ordered to pay spousal support just because you are getting divorced, nor simply because your spouse asks for it. Furthermore, spousal support is not used as a punishment for something that either spouse did to damage the marriage, so you do not need to worry about your past behavior influencing the court’s decision on this matter.

Illinois spousal support is instead typically based on a spouse’s need, such as when they are unable to support themselves or maintain their accustomed standard of living on their own after the divorce. If your spouse is financially secure, it is unlikely that you will be ordered to pay support. Similarly, if you and your spouse both have limited means, the court may determine that a spousal support order is unwarranted. When support is ordered, the amount is usually based on a calculation involving a percentage of each spouse’s income, which may protect you from an order that is beyond your means.

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Joliet divorce attorneysThe divorce process is often a time of intense conflict, and unfortunately, it can sometimes bring out a person’s worst behavior. Spouses may attempt to hurt each other out of anger, resentment, frustration, selfishness, or more destructive impulses, and one way of doing so is by dissipating marital property before it can be divided in the divorce. It is important to know that if your spouse is dissipating assets, an attorney can help you hold him or her accountable and achieve a fair outcome.

What Does It Mean to Dissipate Assets?

Broadly speaking, the dissipation of assets occurs when a couple’s marriage has entered a period of irretrievable breakdown, and one of the spouses uses marital assets in a way that has no benefit for the other spouse. In practice, this can take many different forms. For example, a spouse could attempt to transfer marital assets to a private account or to a friend or family member to save for after the divorce. Alternatively, a spouse could spend marital assets for a purpose in their own self-interest; for instance, to buy things for a person with whom they are having an affair. In some cases, a spouse will even destroy or waste marital assets to the benefit of no one.

Asset dissipation may be an intentional strategy to try to damage the other spouse’s financial security or take away a property that the other spouse holds dear. It can also be an act of recklessness or self-destructive behavior. Regardless of the reason for dissipating assets, it is illegal, and it can have a major impact on the outcome of the divorce.

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Joliet family law attorneyChild support is an important source of financial assistance for a single parent. If you are an unmarried or divorced parent, you may have questions and concerns about getting your child support. You may wonder if your child’s other parent is still required to pay support even if he or she is unemployed. The answer to this question depends on the reason for the unemployment and other factors.

Is the Unemployment Voluntary or Involuntary?

Millions of parents have lost their jobs or had to find lower-paying work due to COVID-19 shutdowns. They may be doing everything they can to afford their child support obligation but end up falling short of the expected amount. On the other hand, some parents attempt to evade child support responsibilities by claiming that they cannot find adequate employment. The first question that must be answered regarding child support obligations for unemployed or underemployed parents is whether unemployment or underemployment is voluntary. Has the parent quit his or her job or been laid off? Has the parent made genuine efforts to gain suitable employment? If the parent’s unemployment is voluntary, is this unemployment in the child’s best interests?

Income Shares Method for Child Support Calculations

Illinois uses a child support calculation method called “income shares.” Each parent’s net income is used to determine a child support obligation that is reasonable and affordable while still providing the financial support the child needs. According to the formula, the lower a parent’s income, the less he or she pays in child support. However, If a parent is voluntarily unemployed or underemployed and this is not in the child’s best interests, the court may use the parent’s potential income to determine child support. This is the income that the parent could be earning if he or she were fully employed. If a parent is involuntarily unemployed or underemployed and makes a legitimate effort to find and maintain adequate employment, the parent’s actual income will be used to determine the child support obligation.

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