Decatur Divorce Lawyer
What we will do for you
The area of law including divorce, division of property and debts, parental responsibilities, support and visitation is generally referred to as Domestic Relations. If you have questions regarding any of these areas, you should schedule an appointment to speak with us. We will review the facts of your case with you and thereafter explain your options.
If you are going to be divorced and you and your spouse have a complete agreement on all issues, we will charge a fixed fee. There would be additional costs if you are dividing a retirement account and that requires an additional Court Order.
If the matter is not completely settled, we will charge for our services on an hourly basis. Our hourly rates are as follows:
Senior Attorney $200
Associate Attorney $180
Legal Assistant $75
Commencing January 1, 2016 in Illinois, the grounds for a divorce are now only Irreconcilable Differences.
If the parties have been separated for 6 months or less then there is an rebuttable presumption that Irreconcilable Differences has arisen. After six months that presumption is no longer rebuttable.
After the court decides that it will grant a dissolution of the marriage, the court then addresses the issues of:
- allocation of decision making of the parties’ children who are under the age of eighteen
- parenting time of these children
- child support and college education expenses
- medical insurance for any minor children
- payment of medical bills not covered by insurance
- allocation of the income tax deduction for each child
- spousal support called maintenance (formerly alimony)
- division of real estate and other assets including retirement benefits
- division of debts
Parental Responsibilities has replaced the terms Custody and Visitation in Illinois:
Beginning on January 1, 2016 the terms Custody and Visitation have been removed from the IMDA. Now parents are allocated certain decision making power with regards to the children instead of being granted custody. A document called a parenting plan is drafted which determines who makes decisions in the areas of Education, Medical, Religious and Extracurricular.
The parenting plan also determines what time each parent will spend with the children. That term has been changed from visitation to parenting time.
Decision making power can be joint, sole or allocated to a third party. Parenting time can be “reasonable” if the parties can agree on what that parenting time will be. If they cannot agree, the court can specifically define the parenting time. In Central Illinois, typical parenting time includes forty-eight hours every other weekend, a few hours one evening during the week, every other major holiday and two weeks during the summer time. Although this schedule is “typical,” actual visitation can vary widely depending upon the facts of the case and the parties. Further with the changes to the law the court seems to be leaning more towards expanding the parent’s time that is not the parent with a majority of the time. This means that parents are coming closer to having equal time with their children.
The child support law in Illinois has been changed as of July 1, 2017 from a percentage method to an income shares method. The income shares method takes into account both parties income in determining how much money it costs to raise a child in accordance with the parties incomes. The law assumes that each party should be responsible for their share in accordance with their income to raise the child. This income shares model can apply to child support, day care expenses, extra curricular activity fees, medical insurance premiums and uncovered medical health care costs.
Since facts of each case are so different, one must exercise caution when comparing child support orders or any court orders in dissolution matters.
Education expenses are decided on a case-by-case basis even more so than child support. When considering the costs for college education, the court considers the reasonableness of the proposed school, the child’s resources and the resources of each parent.
The law on maintenance was changed January 1, 2015. It is now a two-step process. That process is that the court first tries to determine if maintenance is needed and whether or not the potential payor can pay maintenance. The factors the court uses to help determine if maintenance is appropriate are as follows:
- the income and property of each party, including marital property apportioned and non-marital property assigned to the party seeking maintenance as well as all financial obligations imposed on the parties as a result of the dissolution of marriage;
- the needs of each party;
- the realistic present and future earning capacity of each party;
- any impairment of the present and future earning capacity of the party seeking maintenance due to that party devoting time to domestic duties or having forgone or delayed education, training, employment, or career opportunities due to the marriage;
- any impairment of the realistic present or future earning capacity of the party against whom maintenance is sought;
- the time necessary to enable the party seeking maintenance to acquire appropriate education, training, and employment, and whether that party is able to support himself or herself through appropriate employment or any parental responsibility arrangements and its effect on the party seeking employment;
- the standard of living established during the marriage;
- the duration of the marriage;
- the age, health, station, occupation, amount and sources of income, vocational skills, employability, estate, liabilities, and the needs of each of the parties;
- all sources of public and private income including, without limitation, disability and retirement income;
- the tax consequences of the property division upon the respective economic circumstances of the parties;
- contributions and services by the party seeking maintenance to the education, training, career or career potential, or license of the other spouse;
- any valid agreement of the parties; and
- any other factor that the court expressly finds to be just and equitable.
If that burden is met that maintenance is appropriate, then the court looks to a statutory formula for the length of time and the amount. There can be a deviation from that statutory amount if the circumstances warrant that. The formula is shown below.
30% of the payor’s gross income – 20% of the payee’s gross income = the amount of maintenance paid. Then that amount is subject to a cap of 40% of parties total gross incomes.
Property and asset division is sometimes complex and would be difficult to explain here. However, there is one basic concept that would be worth noting. When dividing assets the court must first decide whether the asset is a “marital” asset or a “non-marital” asset. Marital assets are those acquired during the marriage. Non-marital assets are those one of the parties owned before the marriage or were acquired by one of the parties by gift or inheritance during the marriage. Generally, one keeps his or her own non-marital assets while marital assets are divided by the court (not necessarily equally).
Since the facts of each case vary, you should consult a lawyer about these matters and not attempt to analyze your case yourself.