Frequently Asked Questions

My spouse says that that I will lose custody of our children if I don't agree to certain financial demands—is this possible?

Spousal support (maintenance), child support, and the division and allocation of property and debts are entirely unrelated to parenting matters. In addition, recent changes to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act as well as the Illinois Parentage Act have eliminated the concept of "sole custody." The emphasis is on joint decision making, and allocating significant parenting time and responsibilities to both parents.

How long will my divorce take?

The length of a dissolution of marriage varies due to a number of factors. In general, the more cooperative the parties are in exchanging financial and property related information, stabilizing their situation financially during the proceeding, and working together to arrive at a parenting plan, the more quickly the divorce process will proceed.

I owned our house prior to our marriage—does my spouse have an interest?

Generally speaking, under current Illinois law, any property acquired prior to marriage, or during the marriage through gift or inheritance, remains the owner's non-marital property as long as the owner keeps the property in their name only. However, at times these non-marital properties can become partially or fully marital in character and subject to division in a divorce. A detailed consultation with your attorney will assist you in properly characterizing your property in a divorce.

My spouse and I have a prenup. Will that affect our divorce?

Prenuptial agreements are intended to override the laws generally pertaining to the division of property, allocation of debts, and/or payment of spousal support upon dissolution of a marriage. The circumstances surrounding the creation and signing of the prenuptial agreement, as well as its effect on each party's financial situation post-divorce, will to some extent, determine the effect it will have. A detailed review and analysis by your attorney will assist you in answering this question.

My children's parent has not been paying support on time, or in the amount ordered by the court. What can I do?

In most cases, assuming the parent responsible for paying support is employed, you have the option of initiating wage withholding for support, including a penalty payment. This can be done administratively through the Illinois Department of Health and Family Services, or through private counsel in your circuit court case. A court action can also be filed to enforce the support obligation, including statutorily mandated interest on past due amounts.

My children's other parent and I alternate claiming our child as a dependent on our income tax returns pursuant to a court order. Who is entitled to claim the child care credit?

While the state courts can allocate the dependent exemption, the current tax code does not allow the non-residential parent to claim the credit. This is without regard to which parent is able to claim the dependent exemption.