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IL divorce lawyerWhen married relationships are no longer working for either spouse, most couples separate for a period of time before seeking out divorce. Most states require a couple’s separation, that is living under separate roofs, for a specific period of time before divorce can be initiated. The purpose of this forced separation is to allow each spouse to see what their life would be like without their significant other in order to decide if this is the best choice for them. While divorce is one of the most common answers if a couple is unhappy in their marriage, legal separation is also a valid response.

Legal Separation

If a couple is considering separation for a long period of time, a written agreement regarding their assets, debt, alimony payments, child custody, and visitation rights is advantageous for both spouses. While living under separate roofs and leading different lives may seem like a good way to move on, without legal documentation both spouses are still on the hook for the other’s finances. This includes debt incurred by either spouse.

Many couples decide to become legally separated for financial reasons as separation can have financial benefits for both parties. Some couples will use a legal separation agreement to reach the 10-year marriage requirement for social security benefits. If a marriage has lasted 10 years, a divorced spouse who has not remarried is eligible to receive such benefits later in life. Continuing under the same health insurance is also another advantage of legal separation. Many businesses will continue covering a separated spouse; however, it is crucial that you check the fine print of your healthcare plan as this is not always a guarantee. Legal separation can also lead to potential benefits when filing taxes. Sometimes couples, or ex-couples, can save money by filing their taxes jointly. This is also not always a guarantee but can be better determined with the help of an attorney.

Divorce

Divorce agreements include much of the same details regarding assets, debt, alimony payments, child custody, and visitation rights, yet all ties between the spouses become severed. Divorce agreements are also immutable. Once the papers are signed by both parties, the marriage is officially done. Divorce is most common because many couples wish to meet someone new after the ending of their marriage. If a couple is legally separated, they cannot get remarried and remain separated. A divorce is required. Many opt for divorce in order to completely disconnect themselves from their spouse and move on from their previous marriage.

Contact a St. Charles, IL Family Lawyer for Help

Divorce is a common result of unhappy marriages everywhere. However, many couples opt for legal separation because of the personal and financial benefits. Simply living in different houses does not qualify as legal separation. Couples must seek out an experienced legal separation attorney to hammer out the details. If you are looking to formulate a legal separation agreement, contact a skilled Kane County legal separation attorney for professional help at 630-584-5550.

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Posted on in Family Law

b2ap3_thumbnail_rape.jpgMany people are familiar with the various types of domestic violence, such as physical abuse, psychological abuse, and financial abuse. Not quite as many are familiar with the term “spiritual abuse,” which refers to the use of religion as a way to control another individual’s actions and diminish his or her agency. Spiritual abuse can be perpetuated by a church leader against a congregation member, a parent against a child, or a spouse against a partner.

Signs of Spiritual Abuse

Spiritual abuse can be difficult to recognize because it often invokes religious principles as justifications for violence and control. Individuals who practice any religion can face spiritual abuse. In a marriage, spiritual abuse can arise out of the gendered power imbalance many religions perpetuate.

A few examples of spiritual abuse include:

  • Prohibiting a spouse from working, opening a credit card, or accessing funds with religious justification;
  • Using one’s role as the home’s “spiritual leader” to exert authority over how a spouse speaks, dresses, interacts with others, and practices religion;
  • Using religion to isolate a spouse from his or her friends and family;
  • Exerting sexual control over a spouse, citing religious justification for doing so; and
  • Using guilt and shame to coerce a spouse into behaving in a specific way, claiming that he or she is not living according to their religion if he or she does not obey.

Read these statements again but this time, remove any reference to religious justification. If something is abusive when it happens without religious justification, it is just as abusive when it is done in the name of religion.

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Illinois divorce lawyerWhen a couple cannot stand to be around each other, they are often advised to file for divorce. But a divorce is not feasible in all cases. When there is a barrier to a couple divorcing, whether that barrier is their cultural or religious beliefs about marriage, their financial situation, or just their own perspective of the marriage and the prospect of ending it, legal separation can be a useful way to detach from each other without actually ending the marriage. Some legally separated couples do go on to divorce while others remain content living singly while legally separated. Still, others use their separation as a time to reflect on their marriage, repair the issues that drove them apart and find ways to be a successful couple.

Below are four common reasons why Illinois couples choose legal separation.

Your Religion Prohibits Divorce

Many religions prohibit divorce. Sometimes, individuals’ personal convictions make divorce an unattractive, or even unacceptable, option. For individuals whose religious or philosophical beliefs make divorce a taboo subject, legal separation can be a way to exit an unhealthy marriage without actually violating these beliefs.

You Are Not Sure if You are Ready for a Divorce

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Illinois divorce lawyer, Illinois family law attorneyBefore resorting to divorce, many couples consider the idea of legal separation, which allows them the opportunity to live apart and test the waters before committing to the decision to officially end their marriage. Research shows that a trial separation can be a wonderful, effective tool, particularly for those who truly do not desire to split up and who would like to repair their marriage.

While there are many advantages to attempting such an arrangement, experts tell us that not every marriage will benefit from a time-out, however. Some marriages simply do not make it, and many separations that are initially intended to serve as a temporary break for both spouses often end up being permanent and inevitably result in divorce.

Is Legal Separation Right for You?

Psychology professionals tell us that trial separations generally work for couples who are realistic about what a time-out really entails, and this means recognizing that it involves a lot of energy, hard work, and willingness on behalf of both parties to make the arrangement an effective one. If you are on the fence about trying legal separation versus diving straight into divorce proceedings, consider the following three signs that may indicate a separation is a good option for you:

1. You are willing to play by the rules - Therapists stress the importance of setting boundaries and ground rules when deciding to separate. Both parties must be willing to discuss uncomfortable subjects, such as dating other people during the break and a potential deadline for making the final call. If you are prepared to help set boundaries and honor your part of the agreement, it may be worth trying out a trial separation. It is not uncommon for couples to get back together, and the time they spent apart can prove to be a healthy, productive experience in the end.

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Posted on in Divorce

Illinois divorce lawyer, Illinois family law attorneyOver the years, an array of opinions has surfaced over the subject of legal separation before divorce. For most people, the term “separation” on its own sends off immediate warning signs that something must be wrong in the marriage. While the fact that separation clearly implies conflict in a marriage, the reality is legal separation is pursued by many different couples for various reasons, and the intent is not always to end the marriage. Many couples pursue legal separation with the hopes of saving the marriage and do succeed, eventually reconciling due to the time spent apart.

Motivations Behind Legal Separation

Others are simply unable to reconcile, however. In this case, the damage is done, the separation has only further clarified that the marriage is, in fact, over, and divorce naturally becomes the next step on the agenda. Most couples fall somewhere in the middle when they choose to legally separate. For example, married partners commonly separate because they are uncertain if divorce is the right choice for them and for their family, or they would like to try counseling and want time to attempt to repair the relationship before calling it quits.

Potential Benefits of Spending Time Apart

Whatever your personal circumstances, if you find that you are in a similar place, it may be worth it in your case to consider the benefits of legal separation before resorting to divorce. Here are three common reasons some couples opt for legal separation instead of divorce, and some points for you to consider as you weigh which option best suits your situation:

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Posted on in Divorce

Illinois family law attorney, Illinois divorce lawyerIf you and your spouse find yourselves in the midst of separating, you, like many couples, may be pondering the advantages and disadvantages of legal separation before divorce. Legal separation serves to outline the rights and responsibilities of each spouse when they are living apart, but are not yet divorced. Living apart for a period of time can be helpful for the couple who wants to try a trial separation before making the decision to call it quits, but doing so can bring about certain financial risks if not addressed properly early on.

Making It Official

If you choose to go the trial separation route, there are certain stipulations that must be met in order to make the separation official by law. Ensuring your separation is legal will help prevent any potential financial risks associated with living apart before you divorce.

The following three main requirements must be met in order to legally separate in the state of Illinois:

1. Make a petition - A petition must be filed with the Clerk of Court requesting the separation and the petition must be served to the other marriage partner. From there, the partner being served must respond to the petition to continue the process, and they have the right to present any defense against the petition at this time.

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Posted on in Family Law

Illinois divorce attorney, Illinois family law attorneyFor some couples facing marital troubles, divorce as a solution is a last resort and legal separation is the first course of action. There are countless reasons you or your spouse might not be ready to call it quits just yet, and legal separation allows you time to assess the damage and decide whether or not divorce is the right choice.

How Is Legal Separation Different from Divorce?

Like divorce, legal separation is a legal action that officially deems you both separated in the eyes of the law. However, legal separation is a term and is not an actual divorce. According to the law, you are still married and may not marry other people. Your property and possessions are not divided up unless you ask the court to divide those things for you. The court can decide other things with a legal separation, such as child support, parenting time (visitation), and allocation of parental responsibilities (child custody).

To qualify for legal separation in Illinois, you must have been living in the state for at least 90 days, not be “at fault” for the separation, and must be physically living apart from your spouse. “At fault” is defined by many things, including adultery and abandonment. Filing for legal separation does not prevent you from filing for a divorce later on, should you decide to end the marriage entirely.

Legal Separation Can Be Beneficial

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Posted on in Divorce

Illinois divorce attorney, Illinois divorce processRegardless of the reason for your impending divorce, the challenges set before you as you wade through the ordeal can seem daunting, especially when you are unfamiliar with the steps required to initiate the process. Even the most civil agreement between two partners to end their marriage can prompt a lot of stress due to the overload of incoming information.

You have decided to divorce. So, what is next? What do you need to know? Are you taking the most reasonable course of action? Who can help guide you along the way? Here are three things every divorcing spouse should know:

Legal Separation Is Not for Everyone

Some partners choose to file for legal separation in order to officially live apart but hold on to certain benefits, such as health insurance policies and various financial arrangements. Living apart and filing for legal separation can protect the best interest of both parties while giving them time and space to live apart to examine whether or not divorce is the best option. For some, this is a way to test the separation waters before officially calling it quits; for others, it is merely a transitional stepping stone on the way to a sure-fire divorce. No matter which camp you fall in, one thing to know is that legal separation is just that: a separation. It is not an actual divorce, and it is only a temporary solution.

Mediation Works

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Illinois divorce lawyer, Illinois divorce lawsAlthough partners may always choose to live apart without legally separating, the formal arrangement of legal separation has its advantages for spouses looking to protect their best interests when a divorce is imminent. Not only does official legal separation help define lifestyle and financial boundaries for a separating couple, it also gives the couple space to spend some time apart and consider whether or not divorce is the best solution.

If you or your spouse are not yet committed to filing for divorce, legal separation is a temporary, alternative avenue that allows you to explore your options and set the parameters for your split. To file for legal separation in Illinois, you will need to keep the following requirements in mind:

  • You and your spouse must be separated and already living apart when the court action is initiated;
  • If you are the one seeking the legal separation, you must provide a statement that you are not the one at fault for the separation;
  • You may not marry anyone else during a legal separation until the dissolution or marriage or divorce is resolved and final;
  • You may not claim any rights to property or possessions at a later divorce hearing, after the date of the judgment of legal separation has passed; and
  • To begin the legal separation procedure, you must start by filing a petition with the Clerk of the Circuit Court

Once you file the petition with the Clerk of the Circuit Court and declare that you are not at fault for the separation, you are required to wait for a sheriff’s deputy to deliver a summons to your spouse. Your spouse will then have the opportunity to respond and at that point, the case is brought before a judge. The judge will decide whether or not all issues between you can be resolved, and if so, help set the groundwork for your agreements.

Acquainting yourself with the general requirements for a legal separation is the first step in filing and beginning the process. Should you have more questions as you consider legal separation, you can benefit from having an experienced, professional Kane County family law attorney by your side to help direct and guide you to ensure your case is handled both thoroughly and efficiently. Call Shaw Family Law, P.C. at 630-584-5550 today for a free consultation.

 

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