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Your Illinois Divorce: Fault, No Fault, and Child Custody

Posted on in Divorce

your Illinois divorce, child custody, McHenry County Divorce LawyerDivorce is one of the most stressful and mentally exhausting chapters in a person’s life. It comes with a long list of life-changing considerations, such as where each spouse will live, how to survive on a single income, and what the child custody arrangement will entail.

The legal side of divorce can be just as overwhelming as the personal challenges. This is especially true in contested divorces when couples cannot agree on asset division, child support, or other factors.

Fault vs. No-Fault Divorces

According to current Illinois law, a divorce will fall under one of two categories: “fault” or “no fault.” In no-fault divorces, there is not a fundamental issue that caused the divorce. As such, the marriage is ending due to “irreconcilable differences.”

Fault divorces, however, involve a clear reason for the separation. This may include adultery, physical or emotional abuse, or drug addiction. The cause of the divorce could affect the outcome as it relates to asset division, alimony, and child support. It is important to note, however, that all grounds for divorce, besides irreconcilable differences, will be eliminated January 1, 2016 due to the implementation of Senate Bill 57.

Child Custody is One of the Most Disputed Areas of Divorce

Child custody disputes are the most controversial aspects of divorce for couples with children. Illinois courts base a custody ruling on a child’s best interests. Despite popular opinion, a mother is not the “default” custodial parent. Likewise, Illinois law does not view joint custody as a default arrangement.

The implementation of Senate Bill 57, however, eliminates the delineation between joint and sole custody. Instead, each parent will be assigned or allocated different child care responsibilities and parenting time. However, one parent may be responsible for all areas. Or, responsibility may be allocated between both parents. Still, any allocation will be made with regards to the best interests of the child.

When awarding custody, the courts consider the following characteristics of each parent:

  • Character and mental stability;
  • Relationship with the children;
  • Education level;
  • Employment status;
  • History of alcohol or drug abuse;
  • Criminal record;
  • Motive for seeking custody;
  • Illnesses that could harm the children;
  • Quality of each parent’s home;
  • Emotional ties with the children;
  • Ability to cater to specific needs of the children; and
  • Ability to provide moral, emotional, social, educational and material support for children.
Because each divorce case is unique, and the laws are constantly changing, having an experienced attorney who can evaluate your case and determine how you should approach a child custody dispute is crucial. To speak with a McHenry County divorce lawyer, call Thomas Law Office today at 847-426-7990. Attorney Colleen Thomas has more than 16 years of experience in family law. Sources: