Contested Divorce Lawyer in Peoria
Contested Divorce in Illinois
In Illinois, contested
divorces occur when couples do not agree on at least one issue in their divorce
case. Many issues may arise such as finances, child support, or alimony.
In many cases, couples often rely on a trial or a judge’s decision
to bring matters to a compromise.
Contested divorces in Illinois may encompass numerous and unique situations.
Sometimes, couples agree that divorce is the right decision going forward.
There might be other times when only one spouse wishes to divorce, and
the other does not. In these instances, the court may help bring about
No matter what the conditions call for, enlisting guidance from an experienced
Peoria divorce lawyer is imperative. Because contested divorces in Illinois
may end up going to trial, you do not want to enter into the matter unprepared
or unsure of the next step.
Contact McCall Law Offices, P.C. today to learn more about the contested divorce process in Illinois!
What is the difference between a contested divorce and an uncontested divorce?
There are two main types of divorce known as contested and uncontested
divorce. Uncontested divorce is when the spouses agree on the divorce
issues such as child support and custody, spousal support, division of
property etc. Contested divorce, on the other hand is when the spouses
cannot agree and a judge needs to make the final decision in their case.
An Overview of Contested Divorce in Illinois
A person seeking a divorce must allege “grounds” for the divorce.
Most commonly over the years, people cited “irreconcilable differences”
as the reason for a divorce. Irreconcilable differences mean that the
marriage is over and not salvageable and no one in particular was at fault.
Prior to 2016 to prove irreconcilable differences have arisen to cause
a marriage to fail, the Petitioner had to prove that the parties lived
separate and apart for a continuous period in excess of two years, or
agreed with the other party to waive the two years separation period,
assuming the parties lived apart for at least six months.
Previous to 2016, one could divorce a spouse for fault such as irreconcilable
differences if they were separated for 2 years or 6 months by agreement,
adultery, desertion, habitual drunkenness, excessive use of addictive
drugs, extreme and repeated physical or mental cruelty, poisoning, one
party being convicted of a felony or other infamous crime, or infecting
the other spouse with a sexually transmitted disease.
A problem with the prior law was if the accused contested the grounds for
divorce, then the grounds hearing could require significant time to hear
and often accusations were made which made an acrimonious divorce or custody
case. The result was a huge burden to the court in terms of hours of spiteful
evidence the court was forced to consider.
As the parties quickly learn in family law, an unhappy judge may mean unhappy
litigants. The more the Court feels the litigants and/or attorneys are
unreasonable and spiteful, the more painful the Court process may be.
The Court could take matters in its own hands to protect the children
from the parties and their decision making until the Court felt the time
The 2016 revised law eliminates fault-based grounds for getting divorced,
leaving the only grounds of irreconcilable differences. Further, instead
of having to prove a statutory period of separation, the current law eliminates
the separation period (2 years or 6 months by agreement as well.) These
changes shift the focus away from having the parties blame one another
for the divorce in order to allow them to proceed as amicably and quickly
The revised law makes the divorce process more streamlined and expedited.
As an example, under the current law, there is no time limit for the court
to render a final judgment of dissolution of marriage. The current law
requires the court is required to enter its judgment within sixty days
of the closing of proofs, or after a trial.
Clearing the Path Toward a Fair Resolution
The 2016 revised law provides that temporary child support and maintenance
can be heard on a summary basis, i.e. the court can rule based off of
the financial affidavits. Hopefully this change will allow litigants to
save more finances by way of attorney’s fees in contested divorce
cases in Illinois.
Additionally, the revised law requires parties to enter into and submit
a parenting agreement to the court within 120 days of filing for divorce.
This is a change that will force parties to work through disagreements
related to parenting responsibilities on an expedited basis so as to minimize
the disruption to the children as much as possible. The parenting agreements
must be comprehensive and address all issues related to parental decision
making and parenting time, among several other statutory criteria. Division
of parental rights and responsibilities will now be determined much quicker.
Most of the time, even the most argumentative divorce case matters, can
be settled before needing trial. As a Peoria divorce attorney with a firm
grasp of the law and an esteemed reputation in the community, Christopher
S. McCall is prepared to meeting your goals for the benefit of your family
as well as your personal wishes. Having handled many
family court and civil cases, including some involving the Department of Children and
Family Services, there is no case too small or large for him to manage.
What Is Child Support?
Child support for the care of minor children is often paid to the parent
with the predominant parenting time. It includes the cost of food, clothing,
and shelter, but may not cover daycare, medical expenses, or extracurricular
activities. These items are negotiated separately. Child support is an
important matter to consider in a divorce or
The current law provides guidelines for child support, set based upon a
percentage of the supporting party’s net income. The current law
allows for the following deductions from gross income to determine net
income for child support purposes:
- Federal income tax
- State income tax
- Social Security tax (i.e., FICA)
- Dependent and individual health and hospitalization insurance premiums
- Life insurance premiums (but only if ordered by the court to reasonably
secure payment of ordered child support)
- Mandatory retirement contributions required by law or as a condition of
- Union dues
- Maintenance obligations in the pending proceeding actually paid
- Prior obligations of child support or maintenance actually paid pursuant
to a court order
- Expenditures for repayment of debts that represent reasonable and necessary
expenses for the production of income, medical expenditures necessary
to preserve life or health, reasonable expenditures for the benefit of
the child and the other parent, exclusive of gifts.
Peoria Child Support Lawyer: Outstanding Representation
Established Child Support Guidelines are used by the court to determine
the amount of child-support. The percentages depend on the number of children
involved, as follows:
- 20% for 1 child
- 28% for 2 children
- 32% for 3 children
- 40% for 4 children
- 45% for 5 children
- 50% for 6 or more children
For child support purposes, net income is calculated as all income, minus:
- State and federal taxes
- Social Security and Medicare payments
- Mandatory retirement contributions
- Union dues
- Healthcare premiums
- Prior child support obligations
- Student loan payments (current as of 2016)
The 2016 law changes limit parents’ responsibilities to pay post-high
school (college) education expenses, so that the maximum amount a party
could be ordered to contribute is set at the cost of in-state attendance,
not including medical and living expenses. As well, any obligation must
be incurred before the child’s 23rd birthday, unless good cause can be shown. Even if good cause is shown,
no award can ever be made after a child’s 25th birthday. Additionally, the parents’ obligation to pay will terminate
if the child does not maintain a “C” grade point average.
In the firm’s experience, it had numerous trials where allegations
were made that a child was accepted into a junior college or in state
school, but the child chose to attend a remote, private institution that
cost substantially more.
Now the 2016 changes in family law level the playing field by placing financial
costs for a state school into evidence. The child is also motivated to
achieve adequate grades as the child may have to pay for the schooling
in its entirety if the child does not maintain an appropriate grade point average.
Why Work With McCall Law Offices, P.C.?
When you choose McCall Law Offices, P.C. to handle your family law matters,
you can expect to receive unmatched personal attention. Our founding attorney
and his legal team are whole-heartedly devoted to your case. Our experienced
Peoria family law lawyer will do everything possible to protect your best
interests. We have 10 years of experience and a history of successful
results for our clients. Go here to see our case results. Attorney McCall's
skills have been recognized through various awards, such as:
- Avvo 10.0 Superb Rating for criminal defense and DUI
- Avvo 9.7 Superb Rating for family law and divorce
- Avvo Client's Choice Award in 2013
Super Lawyers® listing among
Rising StarsSM for 2 years in a row
- American Society of Legal Advocates listing among the Top 40 Under 40,
an honor bestowed on less than 2% of the lawyers in the U.S.
How Courts Determine Parenting Time/Responsibilities in Illinois
One of the most delicate and emotionally difficult aspects of a parenting
action, legal separation and divorce is child parenting time/responsibilities.
Parties must attempt to come to a mutual agreement on Parenting Time and
Parental Responsibilities. In the event that an arrangement cannot be
agreed upon, the parents must petition the court.
When parents petition the court, the court will make its determination
on the basis of the best interests of the child. In considering the child's
best interests, the court will look at the following factors:
- Parents' wishes
- Parental Responsibilities over the past 24 months
- Child's wishes
- Child's relationship with each of the parents
- Child's adjustment to home, school, and community
- Mental and physical health of all concerned
- Any history of domestic violence or threats of violence against the child
or another person
- Each parent's willingness to encourage a relationship with the other parent
- Whether each parent is a sex offender
- Whether each parent is in active military service
- Witness testimony - 3rd party evaluation
The term “custody” had been used for decades in reference to
parental responsibilities and parenting time. The 2016 family law modifications
eliminate the terms residential custody, joint or sole legal custody,
and visitation and replaces those terms with “parental responsibilities”
and “parenting time.” The change in law is aimed at reducing
the win/lose sentiments associated with awards of custody under the current
version of the law. Decisions related to these issues are still governed
by the “best interest of the child standard.” It is the firm’s
reading that Courts will attempt to have equal parenting time and responsibility
where it is in the best interest of the minor child; sometimes such an
arrangement may be impractical; such as when the parents live 100 miles away.
Under the previous law to modify custody, a party must show a substantial
change in circumstances for the minor child or serious endangerment. Under
the current law, there are four other ways to modify custody without the
need to show a change in circumstances. 1) if the modification is minor;
2) if the modification reflects the actual arrangement the parties have
adhered to for the previous six months without objection by either party;
3) when a modification is needed to correct an issue that the judge would
not have ordered if it had known about it at the time the judgment was
entered; or 4) if the parties agree to the change. Parents no longer have
to wait 2 years to modify a court order in many respects.
A parent with at least 50% parenting time with the children is also now
able to relocate from Illinois using an expedited procedure. The parent
can send a notice to the clerk of court with at least sixty days’
notice to the other parent. If the non-relocating parent signs the notice,
no further legal action is required. In the absence of signed consent,
the petitioning parent must file a petition with the court, as was allowed
prior to 2016.
Further, the current law permits parent with at least 50% parenting time
can relocate up to 25 miles from their residence without notice (in Cook
and surrounding counties) and up to 50 miles in other counties. If the
move is to a bordering state, however, the move cannot me more than 25
miles from the current residence (like E. St. Louis or in Western counties),
and Illinois will retain jurisdiction.
Protect Your Child Parenting Time/Responsibilities Rights in a Gay or Lesbian
Call in a competent Peoria family lawyer when you are filing a lawsuit
for child Parenting Time/Responsibilities in a same-sex relationship or
marriage. Since the law regarding such relationships is still in a nascent
stage, there may be several complications with these cases. You can benefit
immensely from having an experienced lawyer from McCall Law Offices, P.C.
fighting for your rights. We have an in-depth understanding of the Illinois'
laws, as well as experience with similar cases. This understanding allows
our firm to give you practical and viable legal counsel for Parenting
Time/Responsibilities issues in gay/lesbian relationships.
Reliable Legal Services for Parenting Time/Responsibilities Cases
Our Peoria divorce and family lawyer offers reliable support when fighting
for parental rights for same-sex parents in Illinois. Our familiarity
and experience with Illinois
child Parenting Time/Responsibilities cases, divorce filings, and
paternity rights actions helps us immensely in this arena as well. As a highly reputed divorce
and family law firm in Peoria, we are comfortable with both male and female
clients and we can offer personalized services for all. When you require
advice about your Parenting Time/Responsibilities options as a gay or
lesbian parent or partner in Peoria, we advise you to bring your case to us.
Our clients especially appreciate our friendly approach and compassionate
care. There are several reasons to choose us as your legal counsel:
Our priority is to protect the child's interests at all times.
- We can help the parents re-establish relationship with the child.
- As someone with experience as Board of Directors member for the Center
of Prevention of Abuse, our attorney is in an unique position to help
resolve Parenting Time/Responsibilities battles with the least amount
of emotional trauma to the child.
Our firm has earned been included in the
Super Lawyers® Rising Stars℠ list
Contact our firm
to make an appointment for a
free case evaluation. We will be happy to advise you and explain how we can help increase your
chances of winning your lawsuit.