Illinois divorce attorney, Illinois family lawyer, IL child custody lawyerWhen you imagine ending your marriage, the term divorce likely pops into your mind. You may be thinking of how your marital property will be divided, where your children will live, and whether or not you will receive alimony payments from your former spouse. However, filing for divorce does not necessarily have to be your first step if you would like to end your marriage. Maybe you are not ready to divorce just yet or you have reason to believe that your marriage may be considered invalid. Regardless of the reasoning, you should know your options before taking legal action.

Legal Separation

Many couples separate before making the decision to file for divorce. This allows them to test out living apart and reevaluate their feelings for their spouse by taking a step away from the relationship. Though the couple may be living separately, they may not have a legal agreement dictating their arrangement. Being legally separated means creating a separation agreement with your spouse and a family lawyer. Similar to a divorce agreement, a legal separation agreement outlines the terms of child custody matters, possible alimony payments, and more. They also may address the length of the separation before each partner must reevaluate their situation. Some couples may remain legally separated and never file for divorce so that they continue to qualify for the benefits allotted to married couples, such as shared insurance and taxes. However, without getting divorced, you are unable to remarry and are still financially tied.


The most common reason people opt for an annulment is for religious reasons. Since many religions do not recognize or accept divorce, an annulment is their way to end their marriage and act as if it never happened. An annulment labels a marriage invalid and eliminates any legal recognition that you were once married. Illinois only allows couples to file for an annulment under the following few circumstances:

  1. Proper and full consent of the marriage was not given due to mental incapacity, influences of drugs or alcohol, or one or both parties were under duress or force to get married.
  2. Either party is incapable of consummating the marriage through sexual intercourse and the other party was unaware of this before getting married.
  3. Either party was under the age of 18 and did not have a legal guardian’s consent or judicial approval to get married.
  4. The marriage is prohibited.

If any of the following circumstances apply to the marriage, the union is considered invalid and may be dissolved with an annulment.


Whether you would like to make your legal separation more permanent, do not qualify for an annulment, or simply know that divorce is right for you, this is the next step to legally end your marriage. You and your spouse will work with your respective attorneys to formulate an agreement that benefits both parties. If you and your partner have an amicable relationship, you may consider utilizing divorce mediation rather than litigation. This allows you and your spouse to work side-by-side to create your divorce agreement with a third-party mediator present.

Call a DuPage County Family Lawyer

Making the decision to end your marriage, by any of the aforementioned means, can be a difficult and emotional choice to make. This may be especially true if you are unsure of how you wish to proceed. The best way to discuss your options and narrow down which works best for you is to speak with an experienced family lawyer. At Stock, Carlson, Oldfield & McGrath, LLC, we offer our clients seasoned legal professionals experienced in formulating legal separation and divorce agreements, creating annulment petitions, and offering alternative dispute resolution for those who prefer mediation. With over 40 years of experience, our firm has a reputation that speaks for itself. If you are considering ending your marriage, contact our Wheaton family attorneys at 630-665-2500 to discuss your options.



Posted in Divorce | Tagged , , , , , |

child support, Wheaton family law attorneysWhen a married couple with children divorces, child support is typically ordered to help the parents share child-rearing costs. If you are considering divorce, you may wonder which parent will be the recipient and which parent will be the payor of child support. You may also want to know how much these child support payments will be. In Illinois, child support is calculated using the income shares model. Each parents’ income and other information is used to determine a child support payment amount that is fair, reasonable, and provides for the child’s needs.

Income Shares Model for Calculating Child Support

Prior to 2017, child support payments were calculated based solely on the paying spouse’s net income. Now, both parents’ net incomes are used to determine child support. Illinois adopted the Income Shares model for child support in order to hold both parents accountable for financially supporting their child. The new calculation method largely bases child support on the difference between the parents’ income. The closer the parents’ incomes are, the less the support payments will be.

Parenting time, formerly called visitation, refers to the time that a parent spends directly caring for their child. When both parents spends at least 146 overnights a year with the child, the parents are in a “shared parenting” arrangement. Because each parent is spending roughly the same amount of time caring for the child, child support payments are reduced. The amount of each parent’s parenting time is only factored into support calculations when each parent spends at least 146 overnights a year with the child.

Can Child Support Be Modified?

Child support can only be changed in certain situations. Every three years, parents may request a “modification review” to determine whether or not the current child support order is still appropriate given each parent’s current circumstances. If you wish to take advantage of this opportunity, you will need to request a modification review with the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services (HFS), Division of Child Support Services (DCSS). The agency will then evaluate each parent’s financial information and determine whether or not a modification is necessary. If it has been less than three years since a parent had an opportunity to request a modification review, he or she can only be granted a support modification if:

  • There has been a substantial change in either parent’s circumstances such as a job loss, or
  • The current child support order does not address the child’s healthcare coverage.

Our attorneys can help you determine if a seeking a modification is appropriate for your situation.

Contact an Illinois Family Lawyer

Child support disputes can be complex. For help establishing or modifying child support, and for legal assistance regarding other family law issues, contact Stock, Carlson & Duff LLC. Call our office at 630-665-2500 today and schedule a confidential consultation with a Wheaton family law attorney to discuss your needs.



Posted in Child Support, DuPage County Divorce attorney | Tagged , , , , , |

spousal support, DuPage County divorce attorneysIf you are getting divorced, you may wonder whether or not you will be able to receive spousal maintenance. Also called spousal support or alimony, spousal maintenance refers to payments that a spouse makes to the other spouse after a divorce. Although women were traditionally the recipients of maintenance, spousal support laws apply the same to men as they do women. Spousal maintenance is typically ordered when there is a significant difference in the spouses’ financial circumstances or when a spouse sacrifices career or educational opportunities for the benefit of the household.

Factors Considered by Illinois Courts When Determining Spousal Support

There are two ways that a spouse may be considered eligible for spousal support. The first is when the couple have already made spousal support decisions through a prenuptial agreement. Unless there is a problem that invalidates the prenuptial agreement, the court will uphold the arrangements to which the spouses agreed.

The second way a spouse can receive spousal support is by petitioning the court for spousal support. Courts consider a range of factors when deciding whether or not spousal support is appropriate. These factors include but are not limited to:

  • Each spouse’s assets and income
  • The standard of living established during the marriage
  • The duration of the marriage
  • Each spouse’s age and overall health
  • Each spouse’s present and future earning capacity
  • Any non-financial contributions made to the marriage such as contributions made as a homemaker or stay-at-home-parent
  • The time it will likely take the recipient spouse to gain suitable employment
  • Tax consequences of property division during divorce

How Much Support Does a Spouse Receive?

In most cases, spousal support payment amounts and the duration of payments are determined via statutory guidelines. The formula for calculating the amount of maintenance is a function of the income of both parties. The duration of the maintenance order is calculated based on the length of the marriage. The longer a couple has been married, the longer the recipient spouse will receive maintenance. In marriages of 20 years or more, permanent maintenance may be awarded.

Regardless of how much time remains on the order, maintenance automatically ends when the recipient spouse remarries. Additionally, if the recipient is cohabitating with a romantic partner, the paying spouse may petition the court for termination of the maintenance order.

Contact a Wheaton Spousal Maintenance Lawyer

Whether you are pursuing spousal support or your spouse is requesting support, quality legal guidance from an experienced lawyer is key. For help with spousal maintenance, property division, child custody, and any other aspect of your divorce, contact Stock, Carlson & Duff LLC. Schedule a confidential consultation with a knowledgeable DuPage County divorce attorney by calling our office today at 630-665-2500.



Posted in DuPage County Divorce Lawyer, Spousal Maintenance | Tagged , , , , |