In a pending custody or divorce case in the state of Illinois, the court can grant Temporary Allowances to handle the issues of visitation, custody, child support, and attorney fees. If the case is a divorce case, the court can also address temporary spousal support (alimony), payment of household expenses, and other such matters.
While each county in Illinois handles temporary allowances in a somewhat different manner, the basic idea is pretty consistent across the state. For the sake of this article, we will discuss the procedure employed in the Illinois 14th Judicial Circuit counties of Rock Island, Henry, and Mercer.
The Temporary Allowances process in Illinois starts with the proper application being filed with the court, and a hearing being scheduled for a walk-in court time. At that walk-in date, if agreement is reached then the court can enter an Order that reflects that agreement. If there is no agreement to be had, then the court will authorize court time to be allocated on the assigned judge’s calendar for the Temporary Allowances that have been requested. That hearing date may be scheduled for as soon as a few days in the future, or it may take some number of weeks, depending upon the court’s schedule.
At the Temporary Allowances hearing, the court will hear evidence as to the requested Temporary Allowance issues, and then a ruling will be entered.
Handling Temporary Allowances correctly is something that is of great importance to custody and divorce cases in Illinois.
First and foremost, the “Temporary” ruling can last for quite some time, as divorce and custody cases can take many months or even years to be concluded in Illinois, and the Temporary Allowances ruling will generally be in effect for that entire time. The court is reluctant to re-hash Temporary issues, so even in cases where there is good cause to seek a change in a Temporary Matters ruling, it can be an uphill battle.
Additionally, a Temporary Allowances ruling can sometimes give one party an advantage later in the case. For example, in a highly contested custody case, if a party wins temporary custody of the child at the beginning of the case, then it may be easier for that party to keep permanent custody later in the case. That is because the court often does not wish to disturb a child’s physical placement after the child has become accustomed to the situation.
Finally, a favorable outcome at the Temporary Allowances hearing can help the opposing side see that the writing is on the wall, so to speak, which can in turn help the case get settled on terms the client finds to be agreeable, without having to proceed all the way to a trial.
Clearly, Temporary Allowances can be a powerful tool in a child custody or divorce case in Illinois. However, it is a tool that must be used carefully, as there is generally no ability to get a “do-over” and the consequences of a Temporary Allowances ruling can last for quite some time.