Divorce Tips for Dads in Illinois

Wheaton, IL Divorce Lawyers

In the 1960s, women made up only 11 percent of the breadwinners in a family dynamic. Now, four in 10 American households with children have women as the primary (or sole) wage earner for the family. This significantly changes the role men play financially, and in turn, changes the roles in divorce proceedings. While we all know the concepts of alimony, child support, and child custody, it you are participating in divorce proceedings as a dad, it is important to understand your legal rights as a father to your children.

Alimony in Illinois

Historically, “alimony” has been a term that means “money the man pays the woman after a divorce.” No longer is this always the case. Alimony provides an opportunity for divorcees to make a transition from living together to living apart. In many states, the court can consider whose “fault” the divorce was in making alimony judgments. This is not so in Illinois, however; alimony is awarded without regard to fault, to either spouse who may need financial assistance in making the transition from married life to single life. As a dad, if you do end up being ordered to pay your ex-wife continuing spousal support, be aware that there are a few different ways the court can go about it that may help you maintain more of your financial resources in the long term, such as:

  • Periodic, permanent payments: can be modified if the other spouse’s circumstances change;
  • Lump sum: a one-time payment (usually applicable only if periodic payments are not feasible);
  • Rehabilitative alimony: Fixed period of time to allow the recipient to pursue education or job training; and
  • Reimbursement: Paying someone back who was supporting you during marriage.

All types of payments end if the receiving party remarries, or upon death of either the payor or the recipient. In Illinois, payments will end if the recipient enters a “cohabiting relationship” with someone else. This means the recipient is living with another person and they are intimate with one another.

Illinois Child Support

The amount of alimony, if any, that must ultimately be paid out may depend on whether there are also child support payments ordered. Section 750.505 of the Illinois code explains the guidelines for providing child support. Remember, as a dad, you can be either on the receiving or paying end of this arrangement. Determining this will often first require a decision about custody of the children—a debate that can occasionally end all but amicably.

In Illinois, child support is paid until the child reaches the age of 18, or if still in high school at that time, until the age of 19. In July 2017, an updated law governing how child support payments are calculated went into effect. Under this new law, both parents’ net incomes are taken into account, as well as each parent’s amount of parenting time and parental responsibility.

Illinois Child Custody

Perhaps the most important aspect to consider in a divorce when you are a dad is the issue of child custody. There are two types of custody: physical and legal. Physical custody regards with whom the child will live. Legal custody refers to which parent ultimately gets decision-making authority until the child reaches the age of majority. The single most important decision in determining custody issues is the best interest of the child. The child usually does not get an opinion in the matter, but may after a certain age or under a special set of circumstances. If you are thinking joint custody is the best approach, you need to consider if you are willing to cooperate with your ex-spouse and if you will remain geographically close to one another, at least until the child reaches the age of majority. If one of the custodial parents does decide to move, they must provide the court with notice and the custodial agreement may need to be modified.

One of the most confusing parts of child custody battles is what court these issues should be resolved in. A state can issue an initial custody order if it is the home state of the child or has been within the last six months. “Home state” is defined as the child living with a parent for six consecutive months. If one biological parent moves out of state, this can make joint custody very difficult to resolve. It may also be the case that there are delays in issuing child custody orders if paperwork is filed in the incorrect court. In order to resolve your child custody issues as expeditiously as possible, you should consult with a family law professional.

Are You a Dad Going Through an Illinois Divorce?

These are only a few of the things to know and take into consideration as a dad going through a divorce proceeding. With things as important as your children and long-term finances at stake, it is critical to have the assistance of an experienced divorce attorney who can ensure the most favorable outcome given the circumstances. At Abear Law Offices, we understand how sensitive and emotional these matters can be, and assure you your confidentiality and long-term relationships with your children are our primary concern. Contact our Wheaton divorce attorneys for a complimentary consultation to learn more about your rights in a divorce today.

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