Establishing paternity is the critical first step in collecting child support. When legal paternity is established, a child has the right to the father’s Social Security or veteran’s benefits, medical coverage, pensions and inheritance. Also, the medical genetic information of both parents is available for the child if needed for diagnosis and treatment of medical problems.
How Can Paternity be Established?
Prepared By: Department of Healthcare and Family Services.
Where to File: If you live in Chicago, you begin your Illinois Divorce case by filing your papers with the Domestic Relations Division, located in Room 802 of the Richard J. Daley Center, 50 W. Washington St., Chicago, Illinois.
Clerk’s Office Hours of Operations:.
The Clerk’s Office is open to the public Monday through Friday, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. in the Daley Center and from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. in the Suburban Districts.
Clerk’s Office Phone Numbers:
General Office No………………………(312) 603-6300
Kelly Smeltzer…………………..(312) 603-6352
Chief Deputy Clerk
Mike Johnson………………………….(312) 603-6986
Asst. Chief Deputy Clerk
The fee to file your divorce/dissolution case is $220.00. The fee for filing an Appearance, as a respondent, is $104.00.
The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act provides for a simplified and expedited divorce procedure if the parties meet the basic requirements that are set forth in Chapter 750, Section 452 of the Illinois Statutes. Among other requirements, the parties must certify that: (a) they were not married for more than eight (8) years; (b) one of the parties has resided in Illinois for at least 90 days; (c) irreconcilable differences caused the breakdown of the marriage; (d) the parties executed a written agreement for the division of assets that have a value of more than $100.00; and (e) neither party has an annual income of more than $20,000.00.
The exact language of the statute is as follows:
750 ILCS 5/452
Sec. 452. Petition. The parties to a dissolution proceeding may file a joint petition for simplified dissolution if they certify that all of the following conditions exist when the proceeding is commenced:
750 ILCS 5/454
Sec. 454. Affidavit. At the time of the hearing, the parties shall submit to the court an affidavit executed by both parties stating that all property has been divided in accordance with the agreement of the parties and that they have executed all documents required to effectuate the agreement.
Under Illinois law, pension benefits earned during the course of the marriage are considered marital property despite the fact that they may not actually be distributed until after the marriage. In re Marriage of Abma, 308 Ill. App. 3d 605, 615, 720 N.E.2d 645, 654 (1999). Those benefits have been described as a form of deferred compensation earned by an employee for his service to an employer. Abma, 308 Ill. App. 3d at 615, 720 N.E.2d at 654. As such, they are treated as earnings, and to the extent that a spouse earned those benefits during the marriage, they are considered marital property. Abma, 308 Ill. App. 3d at 615, 720 N.E.2d at 654.
In situations where amounts may be added to the participant's account after the date of dissolution that were earned during the parties' marriage, the courts in Illinois have approved the use of a percentage formula. In its decision in In re Marriage of Kathleen Jamieson, 379 Ill. App. 3d 100 (2008) the Appeals Court approved the trial court's use of the following language, which provides for both the balance as of the date of the divorce, and a percentage formula for dividing post-divorce increases earned during the marriage:
“Amount of Alternate Payee’s Benefit:
Amount of assignment: This Order assigns to Alternate Payee *** 55% of the money purchase account of the Participant’s Total Account Balances, of said above accounts as determined by the plan for Plan Year ending September 30, 2005.
Post-Divorce Contributions Attributable to Periods Before Divorce: In the event that the Plan made any contributions to the Participant’s account(s) for Plan Year ending September 30, 2006, then the Alternate Payee shall receive 41.25% (which is 55% of 75% of the Plan Year) of such contributions as of September 30, 2006.”
Courts retain jurisdiction to modify QDRO's, as may be necessary to comply with the Plan's requirements or effectuate the judgment of divorce. In re Marriage of Allen, 343 Ill. App. 3d 410 (2003). In In re Marriage of Allen, the appellate court approved the trial court's issuance of a modified QDRO which distributed the husband's pension by calculating the wife's share as follows:”multiplying the Participant’s Accrued Benefit by a Coverture Fraction (less than or equal to 1.0), the numerator of which is the number of months of the Participant’s participation in the Plan earned during the marriage (from August 18, 1981 to October 6, 1995), and the denominator of which is the total number of months of the Participant’s participation in the Plan as of the earlier of his date of cessation of benefit accruals or the date that Alternate Payee commences her benefit hereunder.”
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