Illinois Family Law

  1. Family Law – Overview

    The following sections are included because it may often be the case that a victim of an online privacy invasion has recently divorced the perpetrator spouse, or is considering a divorce or possibly a separation. Although evidence of misconduct may or may not be appropriate in an Illinois divorce proceeding, and the publication of sex photos/videos may well be considered in child custody proceedings where the best interests of the child are at issue.

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  2. Dissolution

    1. Introduction

      Evidence of misconduct may or may not be considered in a divorce proceeding in Illinois, so a WMC victim may try to bring in evidence regarding any actions by the defendant including, but not limited to, threats to publish private intimate images without the victim’s consent, and other improper behavior on the part of the victim’s spouse/former spouse.

    2. Text of Statute(s)

      750 ILCS § 5/401 – Dissolution of Marriage

      The court shall enter a judgment of dissolution of marriage if:

        Without cause or provocation by the petitioner: the respondent was at the time of such marriage, and continues to be naturally impotent;

        The respondent had a wife or husband living at the time of the marriage; the respondent had committed adultery subsequent to the marriage;

        The respondent has wilfully deserted or absented himself or herself from the petitioner for the space of one year, including any period during which litigation may have pended between the spouses for dissolution of marriage or legal separation;

        The respondent has been guilty of habitual drunkenness for the space of 2 years;

        The respondent has been guilty of gross and confirmed habits caused by the excessive use of addictive drugs for the space of 2 years, or has attempted the life of the other by poison or other means showing malice, or has been guilty of extreme and repeated physical or mental cruelty, or has been convicted of a felony or other infamous crime; or

        The respondent has infected the other with a sexually transmitted disease.

        “Excessive use of addictive drugs”, as used in this Section, refers to use of an addictive drug by a person when using the drug becomes a controlling or a dominant purpose of his life; or

        The spouses have lived separate and apart for a continuous period in excess of 2 years and irreconcilable differences have caused the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage and the court determines that efforts at reconciliation have failed or that future attempts at reconciliation would be impracticable and not in the best interests of the family. If the spouses have lived separate and apart for a continuous period of not less than 6 months next preceding the entry of the judgment dissolving the marriage, as evidenced by testimony or affidavits of the spouses, the requirement of living separate and apart for a continuous period in excess of 2 years may be waived upon written stipulation of both spouses filed with the court. At any time after the parties cease to cohabit, the following periods shall be included in the period of separation:

          (A) any period of cohabitation during which the parties attempted in good faith to reconcile and participated in marriage counseling under the guidance of any of the following: a psychiatrist, a clinical psychologist, a clinical social worker, a marriage and family therapist, a person authorized to provide counseling in accordance with the prescriptions of any religious denomination, or a person regularly engaged in providing family or marriage counseling; and

          (B) any period of cohabitation under written agreement of the parties to attempt to reconcile.

        Irreconcilable differences have caused the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage and the court determines that efforts at reconciliation have failed or that future attempts at reconciliation would be impracticable and not in the best interests of the family.

        (a-5) If the parties live separate and apart for a continuous period of not less than 6 months immediately preceding the entry of the judgment dissolving the marriage, there is an irrebuttable presumption that the requirement of irreconcilable differences has been met.

    3. Cases

      There are no relevant cases at this time.

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  3. Child Custody

    1. Introduction

      If the victim of the nonconsensual online publication of intimate photos is involved in a child custody dispute, he or she may use evidence of this type of misconduct to establish abuse or harassment by his or her former spouse or lover. When determining child custody, the court’s primary consideration is to decide what is in the “best interest(s) of the child.”

    2. Text of Statute(s)

      750 ILCS § 5/602 – Best Interests of Child

      (a) The court shall determine custody in accordance with the best interest of the child. The court shall consider all relevant factors including:

      1. the wishes of the child’s parent or parents as to his custody;

      2. the wishes of the child as to his custodian;

      3. the interaction and interrelationship of the child with his parent or parents, his siblings and any other person who may significantly affect the child’s best interest;

      4. the child’s adjustment to his home, school and community;

      5. the mental and physical health of all individuals involved;

      6. the physical violence or threat of physical violence by the child’s potential custodian, whether directed against the child or directed against another person;

      7. the occurrence of ongoing or repeated abuse as defined in Section 103 of the Illinois Domestic Violence Act of 1986,1 whether directed against the child or directed against another person;

      8. the willingness and ability of each parent to facilitate and encourage a close and continuing relationship between the other parent and the child;

      9. whether one of the parents is a sex offender; and

      10. the terms of a parent’s military family-care plan that a parent must complete before deployment if a parent is a member of the United States Armed Forces who is being deployed.

      (b) The court shall not consider conduct of a present or proposed custodian that does not affect his relationship to the child.

      (c) Unless the court finds the occurrence of ongoing abuse as defined in Section 103 of the Illinois Domestic Violence Act of 1986, the court shall presume that the maximum involvement and cooperation of both parents regarding the physical, mental, moral, and emotional well-being of their child is in the best interest of the child. There shall be no presumption in favor of or against joint custody.

    3. Cases

      There are no relevant cases at this time.

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