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Contested Divorce

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 compromise.

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 warranted.

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 as possible.


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.

How Long Does a Contested Divorce Take in Illinois?

A contested divorce in Illinois usually has a waiting period of six months. Overall, finalizing a divorce in Illinois can take anywhere between 2 months and a year. In a contested divorce, one spouse might not agree to the divorce, where the children should stay, how property should be divided or other key differences. In this type of divorce, one spouse might not agree to the divorce, where the children should stay, how property should be divided or other key differences.Unlike some states, Illinois does not have a mandatory waiting period for an uncontested divorce. This means that once you file divorce papers, there’s no “cooling off” period that has to happen before the process can start.

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. The 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 meet 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 paternity action.

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 employment
  • 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 Relationship

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.

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