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Reason 6: Divorce law varies from county to county within the State of Illinois.
One example of county to county variables in Illinois is maintenance includes the following: Some counties are more favorable to the wife who receives maintenance while others favor husbands who pay maintenance. Likewise, there are no guideline like there is for child support in determining the length of time maintenance is paid by one spouse to another. In some Illinois counties, such as McHenry County, the divorce judges use the length of the marriage as a rule of thumb formula for how long maintenance is awarded in a divorce case.
Removal cases are yet another example of how divorce law has varied depending the county where the case is heard. Illinois law 750 ILCS 5/609(a) states that a party seeking to remove the minor child (children) or move out of state permanently, must ask for leave of court to remove the child. There have historically been differences between when a Cook County versus a DuPage County court in granting permission to the mother or custody parent to relocate a child's residence to another state. This is known as a "removal case." The circumstances or facts permitting or denying removal have historically varied from one Illinois county to another. See "Have Kids, Might Travel: The Need for a New Roadmap in Illinois Relocation Cases; Cagle, Lance."
A third county to county variable in Illinois is the amount of child support in high income cases. In some counties, such as DuPage County, a divorce judges typically follows a rule of thumb that guideline child support although set forth by statute as a percentage of the father or payor's net income (should not include a fathers income in excess of $300,000- $350,000).
In short, how Illinois divorce judges make decisions in divorce cases is determined by what county they preside. Knowing the written rule of law is important for your lawyer, but equally important is knowing how, in practice, decisions that impact you, your children, and your future are actually made by the county judge. At Martoccio & Martoccio we are family lawyers who have had great success over many years in representing clients in DuPage, Cook, Kane, Kendall and Will Counties in Illinois.