Marriage. Statute requires certain information be contained in the petition such as date of marriage, where the marriage occurred, if any children were born, the wife's maiden name, etc. The Winnebago County Circuit Clerk charges a $254.00 fee to file the divorce petition. The Petition for Dissolution of Marriage must be "served" upon the spouse as a means of notifying the spouse of the divorce. Service of process can occur through a private process server or the Winnebago County Sheriff. Attorney Angela Lund-Logan files the divorce petition, has the spouse served, and deducts the associated fees from the client's retainer.
RESPONDING TO THE DIVORCE PETITION. After being served with the divorce petition, the spouse has thirty days within which to file a response. The Winnebago County Circuit charges a $154.00 fee to file the response. If the response is not filed, a judge can find the spouse to be in default thereby preventing the spouse from participating in the divorce. Attorney Angela Lund- Logan files the response and deducts the associated fee from the client's retainer.
CUSTODY/VISITATION. Legal and physical custody of the child/children must be determined as well as a visitation schedule for weekdays, weekends, summer vacation, and holidays.
Agreed. If the parents completely agree upon a visitation schedule, legal custody, and physical custody, the parties will execute a parenting agreement.
Contested. If the parents cannot agree upon a complete visitation schedule or upon custody, the parties must attend first attend mediation to attempt to resolve these issues. If the parties have not resolved custody through mediation, the presiding judge will most-likely appoint an attorney for the child/children. If the parties have not resolved every detail of visitation, the judge may appoint an attorney for the child/children. The role of the attorney for the child is to decide the disputed visitation and custody issues in favor of the best interest of the child/children.
EXPENSES OF CHILDREN. Each and every expense of the children must be set forth in the divorce documents to avoid further litigation between the parents.
Child Support. The non-custodial parent will generally be required to pay child support in accordance with the statutory guidelines set forth in Section 505 of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act.
Medical Expenses. The Court can and does require parents to pay for the health insurance premiums for their children under section 505.2 of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act. Daycare. In addition to paying child support, the non-custodial parent can be require to pay for the daycare expenses of the child/children. The custodial parent can be required to show receipts of the daycare expenses actually incurred, but the Court can simply set a weekly amount for the daycare once a daycare amount has been determined.
Extracurricular activities. Whether the cost of activities such as soccer or dance are to be paid with child support or in addition to child support is determined by the presiding judge. Some judges require each parent to split the cost without limit whiles some judges place caps on the amount the non- custodial parent is required to pay. Still other judges base their decisions on each individual case.
Educational Expenses. If the child/children attends private school prior to the divorce, either or both of the parents can be required to pay for the tuition of the children. If the child/children do not attend private school prior to the divorce, the Court is much less likely to require the parent opposing the private schooling to pay for a portion of the tuition. Unless the divorce paperwork states otherwise, generally the parent receiving child support is responsible for the cost of school registration and school supplies.
College expenses. Unless a child is in the final semester of high school, the issue of college expenses for the child/children is reserved during the divorce. When an issue is reserved, the Court can revisit this issue when the child has been accepted and knows the cost of the secondary education. Each parent can be ordered by the Court to contribute to the secondary educational costs of the child including tuition, books, and living expenses.
PROPERTY IN DIVORCE
Assets. Assets are categorized as either marital assets or non-marital. Non- marital assets are those belongings acquired prior to marriage. Marital assets are those belongings acquired during the course of the marriage with some limited exclusion which would include gifts or inheritance unless these items have been handled in such a way as to make the marital assets.
Debts. Debts are categorized as either marital debts or non-marital debts. Marital debts are any debt acquired during the course of the marriage. This would include any debt that even a portion was incurred during the marriage. Non-marital debts would be debts incurred prior to marriage and have not increased during the marriage aside from interest. A prime example is a credit card opened prior to the marriage with a balance at the time of the marriage but additional charges were incurred during the marriage.
Disposition of Assets and Debts. All assets and debts must be assigned to a spouse. Illinois law divides the assets and debts of the Husband and Wife equitably.
Uncontested. If the parties can agree upon the disposition of the assets and debts either in their entirety , the details of the agreement is formalized in a document called the Marital Settlement Agreement.
Contested. If the parties can only agree on a portion of the debts or assets, a Martial Settlement Agreement can be executed for the agreed upon issues. Then a hearing must be held by the presiding judge to determine who is awarded the disputed assets and debts.