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Illinois Divorce Law FAQ’s


There are always questions when delving into the dark uncharted waters of divorce, from both spouses. There are no questions that have not been asked before, since the dawn and creation of divorce itself. Going into anything blind and unknowing is never a good idea, so asking questions is the best way to become versed in the laws that are in effect in your state. Illinois divorce laws are unique in that specific and detailed laws must be abided by in order to properly file for and obtain a dissolution to ones marriage. Some of these laws are obscure and become overlooked in the process, sometimes hurting those who are filing. Therefore, here are list of some of the more frequently asked questions and some answers pertaining to the laws they coincide with.

Attorney Etiquette

Often times, it is normal for a couple to use just one attorney for the divorce process. This makes sense, as the lawyer was probably the person that represented both parties when they were together. This being said, Illinois divorce laws prohibit one party representing both spouses in a divorce case. It is important that this law be abided by and one party agrees to find representation elsewhere.

Post Divorce Dating

In Illinois divorce laws under the Family Law Court system clearly state that, your spouse can present evidence about any affairs you had even if the affair didn’t start until after the case was filed or after you separated. This means, be careful of when you decide to truly move on and “date” post divorce. The best thing to do, in order to cover all bases here and avoid any technicalities is to wait until you have papers in your hands, signed, clearly stating that your divorce is finalized. Waiting a few months for this is far better than being slammed with allegations of an extramarital affair on the account of a technicality.

Separation to Divorce

In the instance of a no-fault, uncontested divorce in the state of Illinois, divorce law states that, If both the spouses have agreed to a separation and the divorce is irretrievably broken on no fault grounds then the Illinois divorce law requires a 2 year separation. In certain cases this period has been reduced to 6 months, this change in the amount of time, is all dependent on the case and the specifics surrounding it.

Proper Documentation
Always remember that proper documentation is needed when filing for divorce. It is important that you find the right forms for your state and sometimes even more specifically for your county if needed. Coming to a place like is the best way to alleviate stress and confusion as far as knowing what papers to have and how to complete them. This is one of the most common pitfalls, easily avoided by those filing for divorce, all i a few easy steps. Be in the know, do your research and stay up to date.

The Dilemma of Divorce and Only Children


The prototypical nuclear family used to consist of 2 kids and 2 decimal points of a third child…

Post World War 2 and during the baby boom era, large families were encouraged and an accepted part of the American society. Our culture, from TV shows to advertising was built around the dynamic of the family. As the 1960’s and 70’s came and went, we saw this dynamic drastically change.

Women’s equality had a trickle-down effect that changed more than just work and marriage. The residual effect of a more progressive society has had a direct correlation on how we think of defining a modern family. Within the past 35 years, as of 2004, the amount of only-child families has almost doubled. The U.S. Census Bureau has not kept detailed information about the nature of how or why the number of only-child families has increased, whether by choice or circumstance. There are currently 20 million single-child families in the U.S. The percentage of American women having only one child has more than doubled in 20 years, to almost one quarter. The single-child family is the fastest-growing family in the U.S. As the divorce rates have risen as well in the single child family. what effects does this have on the child? And what can you do to help?

Easing the emotional stress

Any only child will feel grief stricken during the breakup of the family triangle. Along with this emotional schism will be the adaptation to a totally different routine. Only children have no peer or close sibling to lean on. As parents in this situation, there is no clear cut way to best handle the divorce process with only children.  There are ways to help emotionally ease only children that are entering into the sometimes harsh reality of a now fractured close knit family.

Prepare the child

It is often advised that parents break the news to children together rather than one parent doing it separately. This is especially true in the case of only children.  Explaining together that this decision was mutual and a tough one to make will help the child understand that even though separating, the family is all going through this together. Keeping the family in the same room talking about a major decision like this will emphasize that even though there will be a change in living situation, both parents are still equally and fully apart of the child’s life.

Building the predictable routine

Understandably an only child’s routine will go through a period of change and adjustment. The age of the child will dictate the varying degree of emotional adjustments and problems the child may go through. Attempting to add any instances of routine and predictability to these new situations will help ease the child into a new life style, while still keeping the same values as if the parents still lived under one house. Also maintaining certain habits in the only child’s routine will help with a sense of comfort-ability and familiarity.

Be prepared for questions

The individual age and maturity of an only child will dictate the level of questions, but make no mistake children; especially only children will have questions. Taking the time to fully explain and answer your child’s questions can help assuage the fears of the unknown that may be swirling around in the child’s head. There can also be the mistake of only child parents leaning on their children in times like these. Parents can sometimes treat the only children as more of an equal then they should transferring some of their own fears to a child who may not be mature enough to emotional handle a certain level of stress

Families with an only child can often be seem close knit, even if the parents in essence do not have a happy marriage. The potential effects of a divorce on an only child can be more detrimental in only children. The impact of divorces can be seen resonating throughout many different facets of an only child’s life and for years down the road. Being prepared as a parent with an only child can help soften the blow, remember these children do not have an equal counterpart in the family to lean on in situations where they might feel they cannot go to their parents. Older brothers and sisters sometimes substitute as pseudo parents especially for budding adolescents, but only children have only outward experiences and contacts to learn and lean on. Protecting the blow that divorce can cause will help only children remember that even though apart, their parents will always be there for them.

Divorce and the Military: What You Need to Know


We constantly look with respect towards our military personnel. Some of these brave men and women sacrifice everything to protect the very rights and freedoms we hold dear in this great nation. We often forget that after, before, and during their active duty, these men and women also juggle personal lives. Relationships, finances, and happiness are not put on hold while they serve our country.

There are also many factions of the military, having a family while being an active member or stationed somewhere can be a strain on one’s life. Being in a faction of the military adds extra rules and restrictions to a person’s life. When it comes to divorce in the military there may be some stipulations different from regular citizenship. Knowing your situation and how the divorce process pertains to it will help ease this stressful process.

Residency Requirements and the USFSPA

Legally speaking, divorce applies the same way it does to any other non-military citizen. However, when it comes to residency issues when applying for divorce, many states will relax some of the residency requirements and stipulations allowing for active military personnel that are stationed around the country and remote places to file for a divorce in the place they are stationed.

Besides knowing the divorce process, military couples should understand and be knowledgeable about the United Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act (USFSPA). This s a federal stature implemented for military personal that is a guide for potential divorce couples that have either one, or both, members in the military. It says that the divorcing spouses should look to accept the state’s specific divorce rulings and laws on specific issues in the dissolution of a marriage. Mainly child support, spousal support, and military/retirement pension plans. One important USFSPA stature is that, while states have always viewed retirement and pension plans as like any other marital asset, the USFSPA allows states to classify military retirement pay as property instead of income.

Pensions and Retirement: How Military Benefits are Handled in Divorce

Retirement payments through the military are paid directly through the Defense Accounting and Finance Service. For an ex-spouse to be eligible to receive retirement payments, the couple must have been married 10 years combined with an overlapping 10 years of military service. For example, if a couple have been married 14 years and 8 of those years either of the spousal parties have served in the military, then the ex-spouse would not be eligible to receive retirement payments.

Another situation to watch for is how different states view the amount of time a marriage has been deemed to last. Depending on the states view of when the dissolution of a marriage happened, it may change the length of official time your marriage has lasted for and, consequently, could possibly change what benefits you or your spouse are eligible for. However, not being eligible for direct payment as an ex-spouse does not necessarily mean you may not be entitled to a portion. Throughout the divorce proceedings, an agreement can be reached by the divorcing parties to divide a retirement/pension. Usually the awarding of retirement military pay may be in addition to child support or spousal support.

No matter the external situation in a couple’s life, divorce can cause major upheaval. With so many specific laws pertaining to where you are and how long you have been married, it is important to know the rules and regulations that may influence your divorce. At MyDivorceDocuments, we can provide insightful information to help you understand exactly what challenges, legal or otherwise you could possibly face throughout the divorce process. Visit today and arm yourself with the knowledge that can lessen your stress about going through the divorce process.

California’s Most Misunderstood Divorce Laws


The ins and outs of any law can be detailed and confusing to anyone, especially anyone not practicing law. Therefore there are a bounty of misconceptions that come along with understanding any law. When these laws involve divorce, they can become infinitely more difficult to navigate and properly understand. Anything from property, assets, debts, child custody, alimony and more, are typically involved in divorce filing and proceedings. In California, the laws are just as hard to understand as anywhere else in the U.S. This being said, it is one of the states that has the most people confused about certain laws and asking the most questions. For that reasons, here are the top 5 questions asked in reference to divorce Laws in the Golden State, answered and debunked.

If we have a joint account that has occurred debt but my name is not on the credit card,  do I owe this debt incurred during marriage?

Marriages are seen as business partnerships under the law. The old adage, “what’s yours is mine” rings true for this frequently asked question. You can ultimately be held accountable for the debts that either spouse incurred during the marriage. This legal rule is put into effect in this manner because it in turn protects creditors from a spouse claiming that the debt acquired during the marriage belongs to the other person and not to them. If the debt was incurred while married, it does not matter whose name is listed on the credit cards.

If we have equal custody, does child support still need to be paid?

When parents share custody of children, even if the court has mandated that the custody is 50/50, child support can be ordered by the court. Gross incomes of both parties and actual timeshare of the child have the biggest impact on this decision. If the incomes of the parents are not almost equally matched, there will be some kind of child support exposure for the greater earner.

How long should I wait until I get remarried?

It is imperative that you get a court to issue a judgment that terminates your marital status before you pursue anything as far as another legal marriage. The earliest you can terminate your marriage and be returned to the status of a single person is 6 months from the date a filed divorce  petition is served on the other spouse and no sooner.

If either of us remarry, does the child support amount increase or decrease?

The simple answer to this question is that the income of a new spouse or partner of a parent obligated to pay support cannot be used as a factor to reduce child support.

Do you have to be married for at least 10 years to get a part of your ex-spouse’s pension rights?

Any of the earnings that are acquired from the date of marriage to the date of separation is considered community property. This means that under the law, all money acquired and used towards retirement benefits, pensions, profit sharing and stocks, will be community.  The length of marriage has no bearing on your right to the community property acquired from date of marriage to date of separation. The moment you are legally married, is when those rights go into effect.

There are a number of other questions that are commonly asked when California divorce is brought into question, however these ones are some of the top questions that are often misconstrued when answered. Hopefully these condensed answers have helped you with any questions or concerns you may have. Remember, your local courthouse that specializes in family law, will always be able to help you with these types of questions or concerns.

Montana Divorce Law: the Declaration of Invalidity

A declaration of invalidity is used in family law to declare a marriage void, essentially declaring that the marriage lacks an element required for a legal union. Montana Divorce Law allows that a marriage may be declared invalid if specific circumstances concerning the marriage are shown to exist. These circumstances must be proven in a court of law. As a general rule, a marriage can be declared invalid if the circumstances of the consent to enter a marriage are shown to be lacking. A Montana court can also declare a marriage to be invalid if the marriage is prohibited by law.

Divorce Law as it Relates in Montana

Law 40-1-402 under the Family Law Statute in the state of Montana, clearly outlines the specifics in order to obtain a court to sign off on a declaration of invalidity in a marriage. The written decree, goes into all of the possible ways in which this invalidity must be shown and thus will be granted by the courts. There are over 16 stipulations in which a couple qualifies, however, they all have sub sections that weed out any couples who do not. Invalidity is not as common as a common grounds divorce, due to these small minute details.

Stipulations in a Nutshell

Of these multiple rules and small addendum’s, they can be comprised under a few easy to read categories, as such.
If one party to a marriage lacks consent, or lacks the ability to consent to the marriage at the time that the marriage occurred, a court may declare a marriage invalid. A person may lack the ability to consent to a marriage because of mental incapacity or illness or if the person is under the influence of an incapacitating substances at the time of the marriage. Once again, proof of this must be had, otherwise the courts will not consent to the invalidity.

A person also lacks consent if he or she was induced to enter into a marriage by force or duress or by fraud. If a person lacks the physical capacity to consummate the marriage by sexual intercourse, and at the time that the marriage was entered into, the other party did not know of the incapacity, the marriage may also be declared invalid.

The Marriage of Minors

If a person is under 16 years of age, or if a person was 16 or 17 years of age and that person did not have the consent of the party’s parents or the approval of a district court judge the appropriate consent to bind a person to marriage is also lacking.

A marriage is prohibited under Montana law if:

  • One of the parties is presently married to someone else;
  • The parties are brother and a sister, or otherwise related by the half or the whole blood, or the parties are first cousins;
  • The parties are related as an uncle and a niece or between an aunt and a nephew; or,
  • The marriage is between persons of the same sex.

Always be sure that when you are filing for invalidity of a marriage, particularly in the state of Montana, you know all of the criteria to qualify. Not doing so can lead to unnecessary fees and filing of paperwork that isn’t needed. Be informed and be prepared.

Divorce Law Explained: the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act


Many spouses seeking a divorce have a multitude of questions concerning paperwork, lawyers, fees and a laundry list of other things. When children are involved in the mix, the amount of questions and concerns between spouses increases tenfold. Each state has standard guidelines, rules and stipulations concerning custody and child support. However, when it comes to the matter of children and child support when parents are in different states, the rules change a little. There are a number of different laws and addendum’s that have been put in place to ensure that the rights of the children in these cases are not overlooked.

Uniform Interstate Family Support Act
The UIFSA was put into place to limit the jurisdiction that can properly establish and modify child support orders and address the enforcement of child support obligations within the United States.The act provides a new framework for states to use in collecting child support where the child and the parent reside in different states. It made it easier for state courts to exercise jurisdiction in establishing and collecting child support.

Under the legal definition of the act, support is broad enough to include child support, spousal support, health care, and related costs and attorney fees. More significant, the Act refers to a “tribunal” rather than a court, because its provisions apply to any administrative agency that has the power to establish and enforce child support orders. Many states have child support enforcement agencies with these powers. Each state’s’ Family Law Court will decide who is to rule on matters such as these.

Statewide Implementation

In cases where more than one state is involved in the establishing, enforcing or modifying a child or spousal support order, the Act is implemented to determine the jurisdiction and power of the courts in the each of the states. The Act also establishes which state’s law will be applied in proceedings under the Act. The Act establishes rules requiring every state to defer to child support orders entered by the state courts of the child’s home state.

The Act also provides various direct interstate enforcement mechanisms. This means that, it allows a caretaker parent to have an order mailed to the employer of the obligated parent, which will require that employer to withhold pay for the benefit of the child. Furthermore, it allows the caretaker parent to have an order mailed to an out-of-state court to get the other state to enforce the order. This is only done in severe cases or cases where a parent has failed to pay support for a lengthy period of time.

Child custody and child support laws are some of the strictest and highly enforced. When divorce proceedings take place, these are usually the issues that are highly debated amongst parents. The separation of spouses can sometimes come with an out of state move, for whatever reason. This Act ensures that any child in this circumstance, is protected. The best interest of the child is the priority of the court, no matter which state.

Technology: Changing Family Law Forever

Technology rules the world, plain and simple. Technology has its hand in everything in today’s day and age. It was only a matter of time before new laws were drawn up and integrated into the new and rapid growth of electronics and technology in the world. Divorce rates continue to grow in the U.S, just as the laws do. So it should be no surprise that new

77 Year-Old Marriage Ends


In a time where marriage is thought to have a 50% chance of ending in divorce, we often look to our grandparents’ generation for inspiration. Often asking the question of “How did they stay together?” or “What was different about those eras?” we find ourselves trying to figure out some sort of secret formula to make relationships and marriage work.

In truth there is no magic, the magic is a myth; people fall in love for different reasons, meet under different circumstances, and mesh together over many different facets of life that combine their personality traits and the environment in which they traverse together in. Sometimes someone can tell right away if someone is a match, and sometimes it takes decades for spouses to come to the conclusion that maybe this just isn’t working.

Age of the Absurd

In an age where celebrity marriages last a week, pet custody battles range up to thousands of dollars, and marriage is increasingly marginalized in society, comes a story that may be sad to some. But in truth, it’s just another example of what makes a marriage successfully, and that, no matter the situation, age, or how much you get along with your spouse, the truth is always more important than any other choice.

In 2012 we have seen our share of celebrity divorces dominate the news. Game shows, reality programs, and everything in-between have shown us the stark reality of just how absurd some people can be. Those with any significant amount of logic understand the real world without cameras can even be more stressful than those propped up scenarios involving people that are made to think they are “important.”

An Exercise in Real World Truth

Going back to our grandparents’ generation, we can stand amazed at how their families were able to keep it together. That is why this story seems so familiar despite its first glance perception. In 2012 an Italian man wanted to get divorced from his wife. He claimed to have discovered letters between his wife and another man, and when confronting his wife she admitted to the affair but begged him to stay together. Nothing totally out of the ordinary there right? The twist is that the man is 99 years old. The wife is 96. They have been married for 77 years, and the affair took place nearly 60 years ago. Despite his wife’s pleadings for them to stick together in their marriage the man is moving ahead with the divorce. When the divorce papers go through they will become the oldest divorced couple on record. Opinions on this anomaly situation will vary from “Why would they get divorced now?” to “What difference does the affair make 60 years later?”

The truth is, as always, that the truth wins out. No matter the shape, form, or age of a marriage, the same rules apply. There was no special relationship glue in the 1950’s and this story proves it. People are human, and are hurt by deception. Even at age 99 and over, something happened 60 some odd years ago that broke the trust and hurt a spouse. The truth and communication in a relationship and marriage is always the most important facets in its eventual success.

Disability & Divorce

The law has often been behind the times as far as rulings go on specific cases. Family Law is no exception. Many of the laws do not account for special and rare circumstances. There are many disability laws and regulations implemented in other areas of law, however, there are next to none when it comes to the matter of divorce. That is until now. The Illinois Supreme Court opened the door to divorce for people who need guardians because of mental disabilities just this month, and the realm in which Family Law now covers has broadened because of it.

For years, Illinois has been against guardians seeking a divorce on behalf of the mentally disabled people under their protection. That meant the disabled person could not get a divorce unless his or her spouse started the process. To say that this is a double standard would be an understatement. However, guardians were still looked upon as just that, and in no way were they an extension of the disabled person in question.

Before the Law was Implemented

The ban, when in place, affected people with severe brain damage, but it also covered those who could make their wishes known; for example those with Alzheimer’s, or anyone with a mental illness whose effects are not 100% permanent on a daily basis.

The court’s new ruling said an outright ban is no longer appropriate. It could leave vulnerable people “at the complete mercy” of spouses who abuse them or exploit them financially. Guardians will now be able to file for divorce and then a judge will decide if there is clear and convincing evidence that it would be in the disabled person’s best interests. In some cases, that will mean weighing the evidence without any help from the person directly affected. But in others, the people with disabilities will be able to speak for themselves. This obviously depends on the type of mental illness and the severity.

Who is Affected?
At first the restriction on divorce was meant to only affect people with severe brain damage, such as might be sustained in an accident, but ultimately the law affected people who had the ability to make their wishes known. Such individuals’ mental illness may come and go, or perhaps the person’s condition was Alzheimer’s disease. Mental disability rights advocates say that those conditions in themselves should not automatically bar people’s guardians from filing for divorce on their behalf.

Many of the advocacy groups feel that this recent ruling is a step in the right direction toward fully protecting the rights of the disabled. Under the new rules, the guardian of a disabled person will be able to file for divorce on that person’s behalf, and it will be up to a judge to determine on an individual basis what is in the best interest of the disabled partner.

Incorporating disability into laws, such as the ones under the Family Law statute, is a sign that the laws are coming into their own and becoming more adaptive to everyone. With a broader scope under the law, more and more people will have equal rights when it comes to the dissolution of marriage.

Massachusetts Alimony Law Changes

Each state has its own specific and detailed laws in regards to anything that falls under the Family Law tree. Obviously these laws vary state to state, depending on certain instances that only occur and apply to that state, for whatever reason that may be. So, it’s only natural that the state of Massachusetts has its own laws concerning such things as child support and alimony.

However, up until September of 2011, the laws and stipulations concerning alimony were not too kind to those who had to pay it, simply because of the fact that the rules were set in stone and certain circumstances affected those in a divorce quite negatively. That is, of course, until  Governor Deval Patrick signed Chapter 124 of the Acts of 2011. By doing so, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts effectively abolished most lifetime spousal support, thus joining several other states where alimony payment laws have changed. Many of these changes occurred because those who were forced to pay it could not, due to the fact that they were struggling in the current economy.

Significance of the Change

This new change in the measure generally ends alimony either when the payer reaches retirement age or when the recipient has cohabited with a another romantic partner for at least 90 days. With this new law comes a change in how alimony is properly calculated, based on the length of the marriage in question.

This being said the law does still allow judges to award indefinite alimony for long-term marriages. A long-term marriage is defined as a marriage lasting 20 or more years. In the case of short marriages, judges can order “reimbursement alimony” in such situations as when one spouse put the other through school during the length of the marriage.

Why the Change?
This is adjustment to the Massachusetts law was done so to end the previously common practice of judges awarding alimony as a permanent entitlement; such practice is becoming an increasingly rare practice across the U.S because it was seen as highly unjust and unfair. So now, the law sets guidelines for determining the amount of alimony payments. Signed in September 2011, the changes took effect in March 2012, which allows people who are currently paying lifetime alimony to file for modifications starting in 2013.