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IL divorce lawyerGetting a divorce, or dissolution of marriage as it is called in Illinois, is not reversible. Some married couples who are having relationship problems may know that they want some space apart, but they are unsure of whether or not divorce is the right choice. This is just one situation in which a legal separation may be beneficial. Couples who get a legal separation are still technically married so if they choose to reconcile, they will not be required to get remarried. If they do not decide to continue the marriage, divorce is still an option. Most importantly, legal separation offers married couples a way to address issues such as property division, allocation of parenting time and responsibility, and spousal maintenance without the finality of divorce.

Illinois Separation Process

It is important to note that there is a difference between a physical separation and a legal separation. A married couple is not legally separated until they are granted a separation through the court. In order to be granted a legal separation in Illinois, at least one of the spouses must have lived in the state for a minimum of 90 days and the spouses must be living apart. If a spouse wishes to file for separation, he or she will need to file a petition for legal separation and a summons with their county’s Circuit Court. The petition and summons is then served to the other spouse and a date for a hearing is set. If the spouses have already resolved issues such as the allocation of parental responsibilities, child support, division of assets, and spousal maintenance through a separation agreement, the judge will likely grant the separation after this initial hearing. If the parties have not reached an agreement about one or more of these issues, they may need to attend an additional hearing. The authority of Illinois courts to divide assets and liabilities during a separation is much more limited than it is during a divorce. The court can only include asset division in the order for legal separation if the spouses have reached an agreement regarding how their assets and debts should be divided.

Benefits of Legal Separation

There are many different reasons that a couple may choose to get a separation instead of a divorce. Some couples are simply not sure whether or not they are ready to divorce. Other spouses get a legal separation in lieu of a divorce because divorce is prohibited by their religious or cultural beliefs. A spouse may also choose to stay married and obtain a separation so that he or she can still receive benefits such as social security, health insurance, or pension benefits. A legal separation is an effective way for a married couple to separate their finances and resolve issues such as child custody without ending the marriage. If you are interested in learning more about the legal separation process in Illinois, contact an experienced divorce lawyer.

Contact an Illinois Family Law Attorney

Legal separation does not end a marriage. However, it does allow spouses to resolve issues including property division, child custody, spousal maintenance, and more. To discuss whether or not a legal separation is right for your unique situation, contact Shaw Family Law. Call our office today at 630-584-5550 and schedule a free, confidential consultation with a seasoned St. Charles divorce lawyer.

 

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IL divorce lawyerIf you are planning to divorce and there is a discrepancy between you and your spouse’s financial circumstances, you or your spouse may be required to pay spousal support. Also called alimony or spousal maintenance, spousal support is typically designed to supplement a lesser-earning spouse’s income until he or she can obtain the skills or education needed to gain appropriate employment. The amount and duration of spousal support payments depend on a wide range of factors and vary from case to case. Spousal support payments are often temporary, but in some cases, permanent spousal support is ordered.

Illinois Laws Regarding Spousal Support

Some spouses are required to pay spousal support after a divorce because of provisions in their prenuptial agreement or postnuptial agreement. If you and your spouse have previously agreed on a spousal support arrangement in a marital agreement and the court finds that agreement valid, you will be expected to comply with the agreed-upon terms. If no such agreement exists, you and your spouse may negotiate a spousal support arrangement or the court will determine a fair spousal support order. The court will consider you and your spouse’s age, health, income, assets, employability, contributions to the marital estate, and other information in order to determine whether or not spousal support is appropriate.

Ending a Spousal Support Obligation

The majority of Illinois spousal support orders are intended to be rehabilitative in nature. The support payments are only ordered to last the length of time that the recipient needs to become financially independent. In these situations, a spouse’s support obligation ends automatically based on the court order. However, when a marriage of twenty years or more ends, the court may award permanent spousal support or support for a period of time equal to the duration of the marriage.

Spousal support payments may also end if the recipient spouse remarries or starts cohabitating with a romantic partner in a marriage-like relationship. It is the responsibility of the paying spouse to petition the court for termination of spousal support if the reason for the termination is cohabitation. If you or your spouse have experienced a major change in circumstances, you can also petition the court to modify or terminate your spousal support obligation.

Contact an Aurora Spousal Maintenance Lawyer

If you are considering divorce, you may have questions about whether you or your spouse will be awarded alimony. For help establishing spousal support, modifying or terminating an existing spousal support order, and other support-related concerns, contact Shaw Family Law, P.C. Schedule a consultation with an experienced Kane County divorce attorney from our firm by calling 630-584-5550 today.

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Illinois divorce attorney, Illinois mediation lawyerIf your marriage has reached the point where divorce is inevitable, do not assume that a lengthy court battle has to be part of your divorce. You and your spouse could be good candidates for mediation, which will make the divorce process less stressful, less expensive, and overall more empowering for you.

With mediation, a divorcing couple works with a mediator, a neutral third party, to reach agreements about their divorce settlement through a series of guided discussions. These discussions cover every aspect of the couple’s divorce settlement, such as the division of their property and how they will handle spousal maintenance. Often, couples who divorce through mediation report higher levels of satisfaction with their divorces than those who divorce through litigation. But mediation is not the ideal solution for all couples. When domestic violence is present in a marriage, mediation is rarely a viable option. Similarly, couples who cannot work together are generally not well suited for mediation. Ask yourself the following questions to determine if mediation is right for you.

Can You Work Amicably with Your Spouse?

If you cannot look at your spouse without wanting to punch him or her, mediation is not for you. Similarly, if you cannot discuss issues related to your marriage in a calm, rational way with him or her, you will not have a successful mediation. Mediation requires a couple to work as a team to determine a fair settlement, which involves putting their emotions aside to work toward the greater good.

Do You Trust Your Spouse?

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Posted on in Divorce

Illinois divorce attorney, Illinois family law attorneyThe American Psychological Association (APA) tells us that in the United States alone, more than 90 percent of people marry by the age of 50, but that 40 to 50 percent of couples end up divorcing. When it comes to subsequent marriages, the APA says the divorce rates are even higher, which tells us that although people continue to get married, certain troubles still tend to strain relationships and in many cases, inevitably cause marital demise.

Factors that Lead to Separation

While the causes for divorce are vast and diverse, there are certain trends in relationships that often result in separation, and ultimately, divorce. These trends all share common themes: Each one involves the breakdown of communication, intimacy, and trust. When combined, these factors turn into core conflicts and often result in the disintegration of a marriage. Among the many reasons for divorce, here are four of the most common:

1.Money management - Whether you have money troubles or not, the difference in how you and your spouse handle money can play a big role in your marital satisfaction. Many marriages end due to financial problems, and those problems do not necessarily always involve debt. For example, if you save a large portion of your income while your partner overspends, of if there is a significant difference in salaries, rifts can emerge that stem from tension and resentment.

2. Lack of contact - Physical intimacy, affection, and mere communication through texts and phone calls are all vital components to a successful, satisfying marriage. When there is a lack of intimacy, a decrease in basic expressions of affection, or no effort being made to reach out to one another, this lack of contact can erode the quality of the marriage over time. In some cases, it can cause the relationship to unravel quickly, depending on the other circumstances surrounding the problem.

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Illinois divorce attorney, Illinois family law attorneyBreaking up is always hard to do, no matter what time of year it may be. New studies from the University of Washington have recently revealed trends that show seasonal patterns in divorce rates. While some spouses decide to call it quits from the moment they agree their marriage is over, others decide to hold out in the hopes that maybe, with a little more effort - or more time - the marriage can potentially be salvaged before it’s too late.

Here is a snapshot of some common divorce trends that revolve around specific times of year:

Holidays are a big factor.

According to the data compiled by the University of Washington between November 2001 and December 2015, there are significant dips in divorce filings around the holidays, indicating that there is a good chance most couples prefer to announce their separation after the holidays have passed. This may especially be the case when children are involved. Co-author of this UW study, Associate Professor of Sociology, Julie Brines, believes some couples may choose to wait until after the holidays to file due to high expectations, fueled by the hope that things will get better during the holiday season. No one likes to drop the bad news as the holidays are approaching, after all.

Couples wait until after summer vacation to file.

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emotional support, Kane County divorce lawyerDivorce can have long-lasting effects on the entire family. Issues such as allocation of parental responsibilities (child custody), child support, and parenting time (visitation rights) all need to be addressed as the divorce process is underway, and the emotional toll on everyone involved can be incredibly overwhelming.

The state of Illinois is also aware of these effects, and thankfully, the state legislature encourages certain practices to help ensure the children in the family are receiving the emotional support and attention they need during such a tough, transitional period.

Divorce Education Benefits the Whole Family

The Kids in a Divorcing Society program—also simply referred to as "KIDS"—is an educational program provided by Kane County for parents undergoing divorce. The goal of the program is to help equip parents with the tools they need to learn how to best restructure their families in a way that minimizes the negative emotional impact on their children before, during, and after the divorce is finalized. The KIDS program teaches the parent coping skills for re-entering the world as a newly single parent, and also benefits the child long-term by empowering and arming the parent with positive, effective parenting techniques.

Some helpful topics the program will cover:

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Posted on in Family Law

new illinois family law 2016, kane county divorce lawyer

New Divorce, Parentage and Family Law statutes become effective on January 1, 2016. The changes are immense and reflect the most significant shift in family law since the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act was instituted in 1977. As news reports of the new laws hit the internet, there is both information and confusion. Clients are beginning to ask: how will this affect my case? Former clients who have been divorced for years or are having their alimony or support amounts reviewed are asking: will this change the amount I pay or receive?

Our firm is studying the new laws, strategizing about how to best help our clients, and implementing changes for the first of the year. Our office will be closed on Thursday, November 5, 2015, as all of our attorneys will be attending an all-day seminar on the new laws.

I had served on committees which drafted proposed legislative changes, and testified before the Illinois Supreme Court Committee on the custody law changes. Our firm will incorporate that knowledge in advising clients on the new allocation of rights and responsibility laws which replace our former custody laws.

The new maintenance and child support laws provide for complex calculations in determining how much each side will pay or receive.

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