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Kendall County family law attorney legal separation

If you and your spouse are considering filing for divorce, it is unlikely a rash decision. Most couples will notice their relationship falling apart for months, or even years, before bringing up the idea of divorce. Couples will then typically live apart, also known as separation, for a period of time before deciding that divorce is the proper next step. Living separately for an extended period of time can be a good idea before filing for divorce, and some couples may choose to become legally separated as well. This will allow both you and your spouse to fully consider your options and truly understand what life would be like without your spouse. But what about those who cannot financially afford to move out on their own? Is separation required before filing for divorce in Illinois?

Irreconcilable Differences

Depending on the state that you live in, you may need to provide a reason or form of proof for ending your marriage, such as infidelity. Illinois only allows couples to file for divorce due to “irreconcilable differences.” In other words, you do not have to give a specific cause for your ending relationship other than stating that your marriage has broken down beyond repair. Before 2016, Illinois law required couples to live separate and apart for two years before a divorce could be an option. If the couples agreed that they faced irreconcilable differences after six months of living separately, this two-year separation term could be reduced to just those six months.

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Elgin divorce attorney property division

If you are considering divorce, you may be wondering what will happen to all the “stuff” that you and your spouse have accumulated over the years. Who will keep the house? As a non-working spouse, are you entitled to any of your cumulative savings? And, what about the condo that you purchased a few years ago? All of these questions are common for divorcees. After all, filing for divorce will change your life in more ways than just separating from your spouse. Depending on the state that you live in, the way that all of your “stuff,” also known as marital property, is divided can vary. For Illinois residents, things will be divided equitably, but not always equally.

Equitable Distribution Versus Community Property

Those filing for divorce may incorrectly believe that everything will be split 50/50 between them and their spouse, while others may be concerned that they will not get much at all during the division process. For a select few states that follow community property laws, things really are divided 50/50, and while this may seem like a more fair way to do things, some would argue that additional consideration should go into the division process. For the vast majority of the United States, Illinois included, the court follows equitable distribution laws when it comes to divorce. According to equitable distribution, a judge will consider a number of factors about the couple’s marriage, financial status, and more before making a decision about how things should be divvied up.

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Kendall County divorce attorney

Making the decision to file for divorce as a parent can be a difficult call to make. You may be worried about the number of ways that this decision will impact your child. Will your child resent you for this choice? Will this damage your child’s relationship with you or his or her other parent? When will I see my child and how will this be determined? These and other types of questions are likely running through your head and may even be holding you back from choosing your own happiness. It is important to remember that all legal decisions regarding your child are made in the child’s best interest, but how is this “best interest” truly determined?

In the Best Interest of the Child

If you and your spouse decide to create your divorce agreement through divorce mediation or collaborative proceedings, you will both get to determine how things will be handled moving forward. This includes designating the primary custodial parent, outlining your parenting plan, and laying out your parenting schedule. After the court reviews and approves your decisions, you will begin to follow the plan that you selected for your child. 

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Elgin divorce lawyer mediation

There is no “one size fits all” way to handle your divorce. In order to appeal to the varying relationships of divorcing couples, there are a couple of ways that you can handle your divorce proceedings. Some couples may have a dark, tumultuous history where their interactions are contentious and purposely limited, while others have simply grown apart over the years and wish to move on from their marriage. The two most common options for those seeking a divorce are litigation and mediation. Before deciding upon their means of a divorce, spouses should consider the quality of their relationship and compare these two popular options.

Sticking to Court

The tried-and-true divorce option that most are familiar with is known as divorce litigation. The term “litigation” means “carrying out a lawsuit,” although this does not mean that every divorce will find its way into a courtroom. The reason divorce may be considered a lawsuit is because in many cases, the decision to file for divorce is not mutual. In many cases, one spouse would like to divorce while the other wishes to remain married. Since this becomes an adversarial situation, with one spouse battling the other, the divorce case becomes a little more tricky, requiring litigation and sometimes time spent in court.

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Elburn parental relocation attorney

It is common for recently divorced individuals to want to start over in a new location. Living in the home that you built with your former spouse can make it difficult to escape your old life and move on to a new chapter. Relocating may finally seem obtainable now that you are free from your marriage, but unfortunately, if you have children, you are never fully independent of your former spouse. With parenting agreements that outline how much you will receive in child support, when each parent will spend time with the kids, and who has the most parenting responsibilities, it can seem difficult to get the space you desired when you filed for divorce. Moving away with your kids may appear to be the solution to a fresh start, but restrictions on relocation may keep you from doing so.

What Is Considered Relocation?

Moving from one house to another does not necessarily classify as relocation. Illinois law outlines how far is “too far” and provides information about how to gain permission to relocate, even if your children’s other parent is not on board. According to Illinois legislation, those who live in DuPage, Cook, Kane, Will, Lake, or McHenry counties and move their children 25 miles from their previous residence are considered to be “relocating.” If you do not live in one of these counties, you have a 50-mile radius to stay within in order to avoid needing permission to move. For those looking to move outside of Illinois, anything further than 25 miles from their previous residence is considered relocating.

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