Category Archives: Illinois Law

Why You Might Object to the Divorce Venue Your Spouse Selected

venue, DuPage County divorce attorneysIf your spouse has filed a petition for divorce, he or she had the choice of where the file the petition. This means that your spouse selected the county in which the proceedings for your divorce will take place. You may be somewhat surprised to know that you are not necessarily stuck with the choice your spouse made. He or she may have initiated the divorce action, but you have the right to file an objection to the selected venue. You do, however, need to act quickly.

Understanding Venue

In the practice of the law, the word “venue” means the court system where a given case is heard. It can refer to a county court or a federal district court, but for a divorce in Illinois, a case will be heard in the circuit court of the selected county. The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA) provides that a divorce case should be held in the county where at least one of the spouses lives. For example, if the couple has separated, and the wife moved to DuPage County while her husband moved to Will County, the law presumes that the couple will for divorce in either of those counties.

With a valid reason, the petitioner can also select a county where neither of the parties lives. If, for example, the couple mentioned above spent most of their married life in Kane County, or both spouses work near the courthouse in Kane County, it could be argued that Kane County circuit court is a reasonable venue for their divorce.

The Issue of Jurisdiction

It is important to understand the difference between “venue” and “jurisdiction,” because the two terms are often used interchangeably, but they are not the same. While “venue” refers to the court where a case is heard, “jurisdiction” refers to a court’s authority to hear a particular case. The IMDMA specifies that all county courts in Illinois have the jurisdiction to hear a divorce case, regardless of where in the state the parties live. This means that a court’s decision in a divorce cannot be appealed on the grounds that the particular county court lacked the authority to rule on the case.

When to Challenge the Venue

Your spouse may have chosen a specific venue for any number of reasons, including that he or she did not realize that there were options. If those reasons could give your spouse an unfair advantage during the proceedings, your attorney can help you file an objection. You may wish to contest the choice of venue if:

  • Your spouse is well known or has significant influence in a given county that could affect a court’s impartiality;
  • The chosen county court is known for ruling a certain way on particular divorce issues; or
  • The chosen county is unreasonably far away from you, making court appearances unnecessarily difficult.

If you choose to object to the venue, you must do in your response to your spouse’s filing. Motions regarding venue will not generally be heard once the case begins.

We Can Help

To learn more about the importance of venue in an Illinois divorce, or to challenge your spouse’s selection, contact an experienced DuPage County divorce attorney. Call 630-871-1002 for a free, no-obligation consultation at Andrew Cores Family Law Group today.

 

Source:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs5.asp?ActID=2086&ChapterID=0

https://www.americanbar.org/groups/public_education/resources/law_related_education_network/how_courts_work/jurisdiction.html

“Heart Balm” Lawsuit Over Husband’s Affair Settled

lawsuit, DuPage County divorce attorneysIn Illinois, laws once existed which allow legal action to be brought against someone who had an affair with a married person. Under the last iteration of such laws, Illinois recognized two torts known as “alienation of affection” and “criminal conversation,” informally called “heart balm torts.” These torts allowed spouses to bring civil claims for adultery against a third party.

The term “alienation of affection” was used to describe an instance when a third person disrupts a married couple’s relationship by having an inappropriate relationship with one of the spouses. The term “criminal conversation” was used to refer to adultery and sexual relations. Many people consider such laws to now be obsolete and even offensive. Illinois was one of the last states to abolish the antiquated statutes in 2016, but pending cases were not affected by this. One high-profile alienation of affection lawsuit which was litigated for years has just recently settled.

Lawyer Sues Husband’s Former Lover

In what may be one of the last lawsuits of its kind in Illinois, a woman sued her husband’s lover for damages caused by their affair. The couple, both attorneys, married in 1997 and created a family together. Disaster struck when the husband began an alleged affair with another attorney at his law firm who was also married. Their secret relationship was discovered after the plaintiff paid a private investigator to follow her husband and his married lover.

The wife sued her husband’s lover for damages of more than $400,000. Recovery is limited to actual damages in alienation of affection and criminal conversation cases. This means that a slighted spouse cannot sue for compensation for emotional distress, but instead only measurable losses. In this case, the woman was able to sue for losing the ability to use their summer rental home, which her husband stayed in after the couple separated. The plaintiff also sought $30,000 for expenses related to drafting a postnuptial agreement, a document which became necessary after the husband’s affair was discovered. The parties settled on an unrevealed amount.

Dissipation of Marital Assets

Cases like this will soon be a thing of the past. However, there are still some ways which a spouse can recover funds which their unfaithful partner spent during an affair. By law, spouses are not allowed to frivolously spend money while their marriage is ending. This is called “dissipation,” and it occurs when a spouse uses marital property for his or her sole benefit and for a purpose unrelated to the marriage. This petty spending must happen during a time that the marriage is undergoing an “irretrievable breakdown” which means that the couple no longer wishes to live together or attempt to salvage their marriage.

An Experienced Family Law Attorney Can Help

If you believe your spouse has spent marital funds irresponsibly during the end of your marriage, a DuPage County family law attorney can help. To arrange a free consultation, contact Andrew Cores Family Law Group, by calling 630-871-1002 today.

 

Sources:

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/ct-met-affair-lawsuit-settlement-20180412-story.html

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/documents/075000050k503.htm

Divorce by Publication: When Your Spouse Cannot Be Found

publication, Wheaton divorce attorneysSometimes, when divorce is imminent, one spouse may attempt to serve the papers on the other only to find that he or she cannot be found. This can present a problem, as Illinois law requires that a spouse at least make a good faith effort to serve the other before a divorce proceeding can continue, Ultimately, a divorce may proceed even if your spouse is unreachable, but it can cause problems in terms of child support and other legalities further down the road.

Alternate Means of Service

If your spouse cannot be located by conventional means, Illinois law permits what is referred to as service by publication. Service by publication occurs when a person places a notice in a newspaper or other publication in the county where the couple last lived or where the action is taking place for a period of at least three consecutive weeks. If the defendant fails to respond, it is assumed that they are either unable or unwilling to do so. Upon such a finding by court, the case may go forward.

Be advised that service by publication is only available after you have demonstrated proof to the court that you have done all due diligence in attempting to locate your spouse via more conventional means. This means that you have contacted their friends and employers, searched on the internet and in the phone book, and the like. Because service by publication can be a complication in a divorce, courts prefer to ensure that all other avenues have been exhausted first.

An Incomplete Divorce

If you have exhausted all avenues to locate your spouse and have been unsuccessful, the judge will grant you the right to file a default judgment of divorce. This means that the proceedings will go on, and it will be treated as though your spouse simply declines to answer any of the counts listed in your complaint for divorce. In a normal proceeding, this would lead to you being allowed essentially unbridled discretion, within the bounds of the law, as to how issues like child support and allocation of parental responsibilities would be allocated.

However, when filing a default due to a spouse’s absence (as opposed to a default where a spouse simply declines to participate), certain issues may not be decided, because both parties have the right to weigh in on such issues. Examples include child support, parenting time or visitation, and property division (aside from personal property, which can be divided). These must be held in abeyance until your spouse appears or until enough time has passed where they can be declared legally deceased.

Need Help Locating Your Spouse?

If you have filed for divorce, you almost certainly want nothing more than to move on with your life. Our dedicated DuPage County divorce attorneys will work with you toward making that happen as efficiently as possible. Contact our office today to set up an initial consultation.

 

Source:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs3.asp?ActID=1873&ChapterID=52