A petition for the dissolution of a marriage must include biographical information on both parties, date and registration of the marriage, grounds for divorce, names and ages of children involved, any existing agreements on child support/visitation or spousal support and the relief being sought.
Illinois, once a "fault state," has added a no-fault basis for divorce through irreconcilable differences. Other allowable reasons include mental or physical cruelty, drug or alcohol abuse and abandonment.
Unless a finding of ongoing abuse is involved, the court will attempt a joint custody solution for the children of the marriage being dissolved. Joint custody does not mean equal parenting time, but rather shared responsibility based on a Joint Parenting Agreement. The best interest of the child is the legal basis for the court's decision on custody, taking into consideration the parents' wishes, the child's opinion, the child's adjustment to his home and school and several other factors.
With few exceptions, marital property is considered to be any assets acquired by the parties involved subsequent to the marriage but prior to the legal term of separation. This includes property whose title is under only one spouse's name, pension benefits and stock options. The court has final say over any mutual agreement by the parties as to property distribution.
When requested, spousal support, or maintenance, is determined by the court, unless an agreement is reached by both parties on their own. The support can be temporary or permanent. Numerous considerations are taken into the court's judgement on maintenance, including the income and property of each party, their needs and their future earning capacity.
For any child 18 and under (19 if still in high school), the court may require one or both parties to provide financial support. Barring a judgement that the amount is inappropriate, the court works off of a minimum based on the supporting party's net income. It can range from 20 percent for one child to 50 percent for six or more children. Factors in determining the amount include the monetary resources of each parent as well as the standard of living the child was accustomed to during the marriage.
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