Tag Archives: filing for divorce

IL family lawyerWhen a couple no longer wants to be married and live together, they may get a divorce or they may become legally separated. Unlike many states, Illinois does still recognize legal separations and there are many reasons a couple may decide to get one. However, when a couple does obtain a legal separation, it sometimes leads to many questions. One of these is whether they are still eligible to get a divorce once they have legally separated. In short, being legally separated does not prevent a couple from officially ending their marriage in divorce in the future.

Reasons for Legal Separation

There are many reasons a couple may choose to opt for a legal separation instead of divorce. One of these is for religious purposes. Many religions forbid divorce and so, a couple may choose to get a legal separation that allows them to act and live as a divorced couple without officially ending the marriage. In this instance, it is unlikely that a couple would get a divorce in the future unless they left their religion or went against it.

In other cases, a couple may choose a legal separation rather than a divorce for health reasons. For example, one spouse may become very ill and require extensive medical treatment. On their own, they may not be able to afford that treatment on their own. However, if they are listed on their spouse’s health insurance, the couple may choose to obtain a legal separation rather than a divorce. Once the spouse that was ill recovers and does not require the costly medical treatment, the couple may then choose to get a divorce.

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IL divorce lawyerExperts are still saying that divorce rates are continuing to increase during the pandemic. People stuck at home together for months on end, job loss, and a lack of money are all contributing factors to this phenomenon. If you are considering divorce for any reason, below are the steps you will have to follow and what you can expect.

Eligibility for Divorce

Like all states, Illinois has certain requirements. Prior to filing, you must live in Illinois for a minimum of 90 days. You must also file in the county in which you or your spouse currently resides.

Divorce vs. Legal Separation

You may know you want a divorce, or you may choose a legal separation for religious or other reasons. A separation agreement is very similar to a divorce decree, as it will include certain legally-binding terms, such as parenting time, child support, and property division. Unlike a divorce decree, a legal separation does not mean you are divorced which can place limitations on you, such as being unable to get married again.

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IL divorce lawyerSpouses often know that their marriage is crumbling and that they are likely headed for divorce. When this is the case, you may wonder whether you should file for divorce first and if there are any advantages in doing so. The family courts will not take into consideration which spouse filed first when making decisions on child custody, property division, and more. However, there are some advantages you will gain if you are the first to file.

Retain Control

During a divorce, there is so much that is outside of a person’s control. By filing first, you take some of that control back. You can make arguments within the complaint about any wrongdoing done by your spouse, which leaves them with the responsibility of responding to those arguments. You can also choose which jurisdiction to file in, which is particularly advantageous if your spouse lives far away at the time of filing.

Preparation Is Easier

When filing for divorce first, it provides you with the necessary time to prepare, which can give you a financial advantage. Preparing for divorce involves collecting important financial documents, such as life insurance policies, banking accounts, titles to property, and more.

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IL divorce lawyerPeople going through a divorce typically want the process over with as soon as possible. Delays in a divorce case are not only stressful, but they are also very costly. Spouses do not want to pay the exorbitant fees associated with a lengthy trial or mediation process, and they usually want to move forward in their new life as soon as possible. If you are going through a divorce, below are some ways to expedite the process so your divorce is finalized as quickly as possible.

Keep Fighting to a Minimum

Fighting with your spouses will always prolong the divorce process. Every time there is a dispute, there are additional court hearings or mediation sessions and all of that takes more time and money. Of course, you do not want to give in on every term just to expedite the divorce, as that could result in you signing some of your rights away. Still, it is important to identify early in the process what is most important to you and what terms you are willing to compromise on with your spouse. This is the surest way to expedite the divorce process.

Collect Documents Quickly

You will need to collect many documents when going through a divorce, including tax returns, school schedules, and banking documents. When working with an attorney during your divorce, they will likely ask for these documents fairly early in the process. When they do, you should submit them as soon as possible. Before handing them over to any other party, an attorney will need to thoroughly review these documents to gain a better understanding of your case. Other times, they will need to make certain calculations based on that information. The sooner you can provide what is requested of you, the sooner your case will be finalized.

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IL divorce lawyerAfter making the difficult decision to divorce, most people would like the entire process to be over with as soon as possible. Unfortunately, divorce is not an automatic process and in Illinois, there are two different waiting periods couples must be aware of. Individuals that wish to file for divorce must have lived in the state for a certain period of time, and then comply with the mandatory waiting period.

The Residential Requirement

The legal statute governing divorce in Illinois states that the couple must live in the state for 90 days prior to filing. In many cases, this is not an issue but there are instances in which this waiting period may present an issue. For example, if the couple has physically separated and one spouse has been living in Texas for some time, they may want to file in that state instead, particularly if laws on the terms of divorce, such as property division laws, would favor them in a different state. In this situation, it is crucial to speak to a lawyer that can help you determine where the case should be heard.

The Separation Requirement

Historically in Illinois, the couple had to separate for two years before a divorce, if a spouse filed under the no-fault divorce laws at the time. If the filing spouse had alleged fault on the part of their spouse, such as mental cruelty, that waiting period could be reduced to six months. Illinois has not operated under these laws for a long time.

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