At Farooqi & Husain Law Office, our attorneys have a wealth of knowledge and experience, and in addition to providing effective representation for clients in family law matters and other types of cases, we strive to keep people informed about the legal issues that affect them by publishing blogs on these topics. With our understanding of the issues that may need to be addressed in Islamic divorce cases, as well as other matters related to divorce, child custody, and child support, we can ensure that our clients have the information they need during the legal process. We wanted to highlight the blogs that were most popular with visitors to our site in 2022:
How Is Property Division Handled in an Islamic Divorce? - This blog looks at how Islamic law addresses issues related to a couple's property and finances during the divorce process, including whether a wife has the right to receive a share of marital property, the options that may be available to meet the financial needs of both parties, and how matters may need to be resolved through the court system in the United States if agreements between spouses cannot be reached.
Can I Prevent My Ex from Hiring a Babysitter During Parenting Time? - This blog provides information about when divorcing or separated parents may include the right of first refusal in their parenting plan. In a 2022 update, we also looked at when a parenting plan may be modified to address situations where a parent is frequently unavailable to care for children....
Going through a divorce can be one of the most difficult things that any person experiences in their life. This is especially true for fathers, who may have to battle to ensure that they are receiving fair treatment during the legal process of ending their marriages. If you are going through an Illinois divorce as a father, then it is important to understand how the state's laws will apply to you. This will provide you with a strong understanding of your rights regarding your children and the ways to achieve an outcome that will allow you to have a strong ongoing relationship with them, even if you are no longer married to their mother. With the help of an experienced family law attorney, you can take steps to protect your fathers' rights and make decisions about child custody that will provide for your children's best interests.
Fathers' Rights Regarding Child Custody
Illinois law is gender-neutral when it addresses matters related to child custody. Even though it may seem like mothers are favored in these types of cases, since they are often seen as the parents who are most focused on caring for children and managing household responsibilities, this does not mean that they are given benefits under the law. Decisions about child custody should be based on what is in the children's best interests, and multiple factors will be considered, including each parent's level of involvement in caring for children in the past, how parents worked together to make decisions related to their children while they were married, the physical and mental health of the parents and the children, the ability of each parent to provide a safe environment for children in their home, and the parents' willingness to cooperate with each other and put their children's needs ahead of their own.
As you address issues related to child custody, you will need to make decisions about two separate areas, which are commonly referred to as legal custody and physical custody. Legal custody, or the allocation of parental responsibilities, refers to the right of a parent to make decisions about their children's education, healthcare, and other matters related to their upbringing. If you and your spouse have shared in making these decisions in the past, you may be looking to create an agreement that will give you an equal say in these matters going forward. This means that you will have the right to be involved in decisions about where your children will attend school, what medical treatment they will receive, and other important parts of their lives. You will also have the right to be informed about what is happening with your children, such as by accessing their school records and being able to speak with their doctors about medical issues....
Are you a divorced parent living in Illinois? If so, you may have questions about the child support that you pay or receive. Child support is meant to ensure that both parents contribute to the costs of raising a child after they have divorced or are no longer in a relationship with each other. However, as children grow, their needs can change, and parents' lives may change as well in the years following a divorce. In some cases, parents may believe that their child support payments should be adjusted to reflect these changes. For parents who are looking to see whether child support can be increased or decreased, it is important to understand how Illinois law addresses this issue.
When Can Child Support Be Modified?
In Illinois, either parent can request a modification to an existing child support order if there has been a substantial change in financial circumstances. Generally speaking, this means that either parent’s income has increased or decreased significantly since the original order was entered. This could include changes to either parent’s income due to a job loss or promotion. Issues that affect a parent's employment may also be considered, such as when a parent suffers a serious injury that has caused them to be disabled, making it impossible for them to work in positions that they had previously held and earn enough income to support themselves and also meet their child support obligations.
Changes to children's circumstances may also be significant enough to warrant modifications of child support. For example, a child may have been diagnosed with an illness or medical condition that requires ongoing medical care, such as physical therapy or speech therapy. To address the costs of this treatment, a parent may seek to have a child support order modified to ensure that the child's medical expenses will be divided between the parents correctly....
If you are facing divorce, there are many important things to consider, including how to divide any real estate property you and your spouse own. Whether you own a home, rental properties, or other real estate investments, it is important to make sure these assets will be handled correctly during the process of dividing your marital property. Determining how to divide your marital home or other real estate property can become complicated during a divorce, and by understanding your options, you can make decisions that will protect your financial interests going forward.
Equitable Distribution of Marital Property
Illinois law follows the principle of "equitable distribution" when determining how marital property should be divided between divorcing spouses. This does not mean that all property will be split 50/50; rather, all marital assets should be divided in a fair or equitable way. Generally speaking, equitable distribution will take into account any contributions made by both parties throughout the marriage as well as any special circumstances or factors such as age, health, or earning potential. This means that when divorcing spouses address ownership of their marital home or other real estate, multiple factors may be considered, including whether it is preferable for one party to maintain ownership of the home to ensure that children will not be uprooted from their community, whether sole ownership by one party will be financially feasible, and whether other arrangements may need to be made to make sure both parties will have the means to support themselves after their marriage has ended.
How Is Real Estate Property Divided?
Generally, couples will have three options for dividing real estate property during divorce:...
The discovery process is an important part of every divorce case. During this process, each spouse will be able to learn about the assets and debts that are included in the marital estate, as well as the income, financial assets, and liabilities of the other spouse. This process ensures that both spouses are fully informed about the property to be divided in the divorce, and the information uncovered during discovery can play an essential role as spouses negotiate a settlement agreement.
Discovery can generally be divided into two main categories: formal discovery and informal discovery. Informal discovery usually occurs early in the divorce proceedings, and it may involve the voluntary disclosure of information as a couple works to gain a full understanding of their financial situation. Formal discovery may be necessary if a couple owns complex assets or if there are concerns that some information has not been disclosed, and it includes legal procedures in which the parties make requests to each other or use other methods to gain relevant information.
Methods Used During Discovery
During the discovery process, spouses will gain a complete understanding of all information related to their marriage, each spouse's income and assets, their debts and liabilities, and their ongoing needs. The information gathered may inform decisions about how marital property will be divided, as well as the amount of child support or spousal support that may be paid, and it may even play a role in decisions about child custody. Some methods that may be used to uncover information during the discovery process include:...
There are a variety of financial factors that may play a role in a divorce, and in some cases, one spouse may be at a financial disadvantage because they earn less money or depend on the other spouse to provide for their needs. In these situations, a spouse may request support from their former partner that will allow them to meet their needs in the years following the end of their marriage. Spousal support—sometimes called "alimony"—is a payment from one ex-spouse to the other. In Illinois, spousal support may be ordered as part of a divorce judgment, or a couple may agree that spousal support will be paid when they negotiate the terms of their divorce settlement.
In divorce cases where spousal support may be a factor, spouses are likely to have many questions. In addition to determining whether a spouse is eligible to receive support and the amount of support that will be paid, the parties will need to understand how long these payments will last. This can ensure that they will both be able to plan for how to address their needs in the future.
Duration of Spousal Support Payments
Under Illinois law, spousal support is referred to as spousal maintenance. In general, there are two categories of spousal maintenance in Illinois: temporary and permanent. Temporary maintenance may be paid during the divorce process, and it may begin after one spouse requests support and the judge issues an order for temporary relief that specifies the amount that will be paid. Once the divorce is finalized, temporary support payments will stop....
If you have been served with a divorce petition filed by your spouse, you may be wondering if you can contest the divorce. The answer is yes, it is technically possible to contest your spouse's divorce petition. However, doing so may not be in your best interests. Regardless of how you choose to approach the divorce process, it is important to make sure you have legal representation from a qualified and experienced attorney.
The Process of Filing and Responding to a Divorce Petition in Illinois
In Illinois, either spouse may file a petition for dissolution of marriage. Once the petition is filed, it must be served to the other spouse. The spouse who was served with the petition then has 30 days to respond. This response may include objections to the divorce petition, although most of the time, a spouse will accept the petition, answer any claims made by their spouse, and allow the divorce process to proceed.
Illinois is a no-fault divorce state, and there are only a few requirements that need to be met when filing a petition for divorce. At least one spouse must have resided in the state for 90 days prior to filing the petition. When providing a reason, or "grounds," for the divorce, a divorce petition will simply state that the petitioner wishes to end their marriage due to "irreconcilable differences." Illinois law defines irreconcilable differences as an irretrievable breakdown of a couple's relationship to the point that attempts to reconcile would not be practical and would not be in the best interests of the couple or other family members....
When a married couple decides to divorce, there are a lot of decisions that need to be made. How will their assets be divided? Where will the children live? Who will pay child support? These are all important questions that must be addressed during the divorce process. While a couple's divorce decree will set down the final decisions made in these areas, some issues may need to be addressed while the case is ongoing. Temporary orders can address these issues.
What Are Temporary Orders?
Temporary orders (sometimes referred to as temporary relief) are court orders that are issued on a temporary basis during a divorce case. In Illinois, a person will request temporary relief when filing a divorce petition, and the other spouse may also make requests when they file a response. The judge will address these requests and issue temporary orders at the beginning of the case.
At any time during the divorce process, either spouse may file a petition requesting temporary relief, and a hearing will be held to determine how certain issues will be handled. Once a temporary order is issued, it will remain in effect until the completion of the divorce, unless another temporary order is issued at a later date that modifies or reverses the initial order. Once the divorce is finalized, the terms of the divorce decree will supersede any temporary orders that had been put in place....
Addressing matters related to child custody is often one of the most difficult aspects of getting a divorce. Unmarried parents may also need to address this issue, and both parents may be looking to determine how they can share custody of their children. In Illinois, joint child custody is generally presumed to be in the child's best interests unless there is evidence showing that it would not be. However, understanding exactly what joint custody entails is not always easy, and parents will need to be aware of how legal and physical custody are addressed in Illinois law.
Understanding Joint Child Custody
When matters involving child custody are addressed in family courts, the decisions made will usually be separated into two distinct categories, commonly referred to as legal and physical custody. Legal custody, which Illinois law refers to as the "allocation of parental responsibilities," refers to decision-making power for things like education and medical care. Physical custody is known as "parenting time" in Illinois, and it includes any time that children spend in the care of a parent. Physical custody will address where children will primarily live and when they will stay in each parent's home.
In cases where parents have joint legal custody, each parent will have a say in making decisions about how their children will be raised. Depending on a family's unique circumstances, different areas of responsibility, such as decisions related to medical care or education, may be the primary or sole responsibility of one parent. However, regardless of how parental responsibilities are allocated, each parent will be able to have reasonable amounts of parenting time. A parent's rights to parenting time may only be restricted if there is compelling evidence showing that this is necessary to protect the children's best interests....
Originally published: April 30, 2020 -- Updated: September 14, 2022
Update: The right of first refusal, as discussed below, may address situations where one parent is unavailable to care for children during their scheduled parenting time. However, if these situations occur frequently, and a parent is regularly unavailable to address children's needs when required, the other parent may believe that it will be necessary to modify their child custody agreement and ensure that children will be able to have the care they need from a parent going forward. By understanding the requirements for post-divorce modifications, a parent can make sure these situations will be addressed correctly.
Modifications to the allocation of parental responsibilities or parenting time will usually only be allowed if there has been a significant change in circumstances since the original child custody agreement was put into place. There are multiple factors in the lives of parents or children that may be changes that are considered significant enough to warrant a child custody modification. For example, if a parent has found a new job with different hours, and they now require a babysitter or family member to pick children up from school and care for them during the evenings, the other parent may ask for their parenting plan to be modified so they can care for the children during these times....
No marriage is perfect, and married couples may encounter relationship issues for a variety of reasons. Some common factors that can lead a couple to grow apart include disagreements about finances or how to raise children, changing priorities that cause a couple to be incompatible, or extramarital affairs. For those who believe that they can no longer make their marriage work, divorce may be the best option. However, many couples are not ready for this permanent, final step, and they may first wish to separate on a trial basis. In other cases, a couple may prefer to stay legally married, even if they no longer wish to have a close relationship or live in the same home. This will allow them to maintain certain benefits and avoid the stigma of a divorce. In these situations, legal separation may be the ideal option.
The Process of Legal Separation in Illinois
For married couples who live in Illinois, a legal separation is handled in a very similar manner as a divorce. The process begins when one spouse files a petition for legal separation with the court in their county of residence. Once the paperwork is filed, the other spouse will be served with the petition and given 30 days to file a response. If both spouses agree on the terms of their legal separation, they can sign a separation agreement that will be submitted to the court.
A separation agreement will need to address multiple issues related to the couple's marriage and separation, including:...
When parents get divorced, they may put child custody arrangements in place to ensure they can be closely involved in raising their children. Maintaining strong parent/child relationships in the years following a divorce can be crucial for a child's well-being. However, these relationships may be affected by a parent's decision to relocate to a new home. If a parent plans to move with their children to a different city or state, and this relocation would impact child custody or parenting time, the parent will usually need to request a post-divorce modification. By understanding the specific laws in Illinois that govern parental relocation, parents can determine their options for resolving disputes in these situations.
When Are Parental Relocation Requests Necessary?
A move to a new home by a parent will only be considered a “relocation” in certain circumstances. A relocation request may be made by a parent who has been allocated the majority of the parenting time with the couple’s children, meaning that children live primarily in their home. These requests may also be appropriate in cases where children spend an equal amount of time with both parents. Parents will need to request approval for a relocation in the following circumstances:
A parent currently lives in one of the counties in the Chicago area (DuPage, Kane, Will, Cook, McHenry, or Lake), and they will be moving at least 25 miles away based on the driving distance determined using an internet mapping service....
A prenuptial agreement, or prenup, can be an important legal document that protects married spouses. As a contract between two parties who are planning to get married, a prenup will detail how different issues will be handled if the couple chooses to get a divorce in the future. Typically, a prenuptial agreement will be limited to addressing financial issues, such as property division or spousal maintenance. A prenup can provide both parties with the assurance that certain issues will be handled correctly if their marriage ever ends, and it can remove the possibility of conflict by resolving some disputes ahead of time. However, to avoid disputes related to the terms of an agreement, it is important to make sure a prenup will be valid and enforceable.
Addressing Concerns About Prenup Enforceability
A prenuptial agreement is a legal contract, and both parties will need to be sure they fully understand all of the terms of the agreement and have the mental capacity to make sound decisions about financial matters. Once a prenup has been signed, and a couple has been legally married, its terms will usually be enforced in the event of a divorce. However, there are a few rare situations where a prenup may be determined to be unenforceable.
In some cases, a prenup may be found to be invalid because one spouse did not sign the agreement voluntarily. In some cases, a spouse may have signed an agreement due to coercion or duress, which may include threats to end the relationship or pressure related to social or religious norms. This can sometimes be an issue in Islamic marriages, and the payment of a mahr or dowry will sometimes be accompanied by a request to sign a marriage contract that may function as a prenuptial agreement. In these cases, a spouse may feel that they have no other option but to agree to the other spouse’s terms, even if this would put them in an unfair financial position. Demonstrating that coercion occurred can sometimes be difficult, and a person who signed an unfair agreement may end up being bound to its terms....
When a married couple splits up, they will often need to make significant changes to the ways they handle financial issues. A couple that had combined their finances, deposited income into joint accounts, and worked together to pay bills and other expenses will need to separate their finances and determine how they will each be able to pay various costs on their own. While this process can be complicated and difficult, spouses will usually be able to make adjustments to ensure that they will each be able to live comfortably on a single income. However, there are some situations where one spouse may be unable to fully support themselves after their divorce, such as when a stay-at-home parent did not work outside the home during their marriage. In these situations, one spouse may believe that they should receive spousal support from the other. By understanding when a spouse may qualify for this form of support, a couple can ensure that this issue will be handled correctly during the divorce process.
Factors Considered in Decisions About Spousal Maintenance
Spousal support is known as spousal maintenance in Illinois, although it is often referred to as alimony. It is important to understand that even if the need for support seems obvious (such as when one party relies primarily or solely on the other party’s income to meet the family’s needs), maintenance will not be awarded automatically. A spouse who believes they need financial support will need to request it, and they must demonstrate that this support is necessary to meet their ongoing needs and maintain the lifestyle they were used to while they were married.
Illinois law details a number of factors that may play a role in determining whether a spouse is eligible to receive spousal maintenance, although a judge may consider any issues that may affect the parties’ ability to reach a fair and equitable outcome for their divorce. The specific factors that a judge should consider include:...
In most family law cases involving children, child support will be ordered. Child support is usually a factor when parents choose to divorce, but it may also need to be addressed in situations where parents are unmarried. This form of support is not meant to benefit or penalize either parent, but it is instead a right that is afforded to children so that their ongoing needs will be met. Parents will need to understand how child support payments will be calculated, and depending on their unique circumstances, they may also be ordered to contribute to additional expenses on top of child support ordered by the court.
How Parents May Share Children’s Expenses
Child support obligations are determined based on the income earned by each parent, and in some cases, the parents’ respective amounts of parenting time may also factor into these calculations. This “basic support obligation” is intended to cover children’s daily needs, and the parent who receives payments may use them to address the costs of food, clothing, and housing. However, there are usually other costs involved in raising children, and in addition to the basic obligation, expenses such as the following may need to be added to this amount:
Health care - Parents must ensure that their children will be covered by a medical insurance policy. Most of the time, coverage will be available through health benefits provided by one parent’s employer. When obtaining coverage, parents may calculate the amount that will be paid to provide coverage for children, and one parent may be required to reimburse the other for a portion of this amount. Other types of health care costs not covered by insurance may also need to be addressed, such as co-pays for doctor visits, medications, and any medical equipment or assistive devices that are needed....
Parents may become involved in child custody disputes during a divorce or the breakup of an unmarried couple. In these situations, making decisions about how parents will share legal custody and divide parenting time can be difficult. When addressing these issues, it is important to understand how the laws in Illinois may affect a case. Even if a couple plans to negotiate a parenting agreement rather than resolving disputes in the courtroom, knowing how the law addresses their situation can help them make the right decisions. One issue that may play a role in these matters is the way parents have handled and expect to continue handling “caretaking functions” for their children.
What Are Caretaking Functions?
Parents will engage in a number of activities as they provide care for their children, ensure that children’s needs are met, and help children grow and develop successfully. Illinois law details a number of these caretaking functions, and it states that parents are responsible for engaging in these functions during their parenting time. When determining how to allocate parenting time between parents, one factor that may be considered is how each parent has been involved in caretaking functions for their children during the two years immediately preceding the initiation of a divorce or child custody case.
Caretaking functions include:...
Originally published: February 16, 2021 -- Updated: May 25, 2022
UPDATE: Below, we look at how the divorce laws may address attempts by a spouse to hide or conceal assets prior to or during their divorce. However, it is also important to understand how the law addresses the dissipation of marital assets. Dissipation is the use of marital property for non-marital purposes after a marriage has begun to undergo an irretrievable breakdown. Asset dissipation can take many forms, including cases where a spouse spends money on an extramarital affair, such as by taking vacations with a lover or buying them gifts. However, it may also involve purchasing items or using marital funds for a person’s sole benefit, spending money on a drug or gambling addiction, or purposely destroying property with the intent of harming the other spouse....
There are a multitude of different issues that will be addressed during a couple’s divorce, and at the end of the legal process, a divorce decree or judgment will be issued. This final order is meant to remain in place indefinitely, and it will address how certain issues will be handled going forward. For couples who have children, their divorce decree will include a child custody order, which is sometimes referred to as a parenting plan. There are some cases where these orders may no longer adequately address a family’s needs, and based on changes that have occurred, either parent may request modifications of their parenting plan. By understanding the requirements they will need to meet for modifications to be granted, parents can make sure they approach these cases correctly.
Post-Divorce Child Custody Modifications
Generally, modifications to the allocation of parental responsibilities (also known as legal custody) may not be made within the first two years after a couple’s divorce, unless there is reason to believe that issues have arisen that may affect a child’s physical or emotional health, such as abuse against a child by a parent or another person in their household. Modifications to parenting time or physical custody may be made at any time if the court determines that they are necessary. Parents may also agree to make modifications to legal or physical custody at any time, and these modifications will generally be allowed, unless the court determines that they are not in the children’s best interests.
In most cases, a parent who requests a modification will need to show that there has been a significant change in the circumstances of themselves, the other parent, or the couple’s children. Some valid reasons for modifications may include:...
Issues related to the property a couple owns are often some of the most complex factors that need to be addressed during the divorce process. While multiple types of assets and debts need to be considered during the property division process, determining how to handle ownership of a family business will often be one of the most consequential decisions. Whether a business is considered to be marital property because it was founded after the couple’s marriage or separate property that a spouse owned before getting married, it will be essential to perform a business valuation to determine the value of this asset.
Business Valuation Methods for Divorcing Business Owners
It will be important for both spouses to make sure a business will be handled correctly during their divorce. A family-owned business may be a source of income for one or both spouses, or it may represent a large portion of the couple’s total assets. Even if a business is a separate asset solely owned by one spouse, it will be important to determine the value of this asset to ensure that both spouses have an understanding of their individual financial resources. This can not only ensure that marital property will be divided fairly and equitably, but it may also help determine whether spousal maintenance will be appropriate....