The Law Office of Matthew M. Williams, P.C.

630-409-8184

1444 North Farnsworth Avenue, Suite 307, Aurora, IL 60505

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DuPage County legal separation attorney

Making the decision to end your marriage is not one that is usually taken lightly. For most couples, it takes years for the marriage to break down to a point that one or both spouses realize it would be for the best to no longer stay together. Getting divorced is a final, absolute process that cannot be reversed once it is completed. Because of this, many couples turn to a less permanent form by legally separating before they make the decision to get divorced. A legal separation can be a useful tool for many couples if they are unsure they want the finality of a divorce.

Legal Separation Versus Divorce

At face value, a legal separation looks very similar to divorce. However, the outcomes are very different. When you obtain a legal separation, you must meet the residency requirement of living in Illinois for at least 90 days prior to filing. Next, you must file a petition to separate, which must include proof that you and your partner are living separately from one another. The two of you can then address issues such as spousal support, division of property, child support, and child custody.

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DuPage County legal separation lawyerThere are many reasons why couples get divorced, but often it takes a lot of time and contemplation to get to that point. Before it is decided that divorce is the best option, couples often go through a period of uncertainty about whether or not they actually want to legally terminate their marriage or if they just want to “call it quits” for a while. During this time, some couples choose to separate themselves by living apart and also being financially independent of each other. These are the basics of an Illinois legal separation, though it is not enough to just say that you are separated. You and your spouse must take several steps before the state will view your separation as legal.

Requirements for a Legal Separation

If you are considering obtaining a legal separation in Illinois, there are a few requirements that you must meet. First, you or your spouse must have been a resident of Illinois for at least 90 days. Then you will have to file a petition with the court in the county in which either you or your spouse lives or the county in which you and your spouse last lived together. In the petition, you must be able to prove that you and your spouse live separately from each other.

Why Choose Legal Separation?

A legal separation is similar to a divorce in many ways. When the court declares you separated, it will also address issues such as spousal maintenance, as well as child-related issues such as parenting time and child support. For some people, a legal separation is a chance to reconcile after some time apart because it is not permanent. For others, legal separation is a way to protect their finances during a long and contentious divorce. A legal separation is also an option for those who cannot get a divorce because of cultural or religious reasons.

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DuPage County legal separation lawyerMaking the decision to get a divorce is often one of the most stressful periods in a person’s life. For many people, it can take months or even years to come to the conclusion that a divorce is the best option. During this time, many couples turn to legal separation to begin the process of ending their marriage before they become legally divorced. During the separation, financial issues can be confusing and daunting to manage. Planning ahead regarding your finances is essential to ensuring a smooth divorce process. If you are contemplating divorce and think a legal separation is the best first step, here are a few tips to help you manage your finances during this period of transition:

Create a New Budget For Yourself

One of the first things you should do when you become separated from your spouse is to figure out a new budget. Once you are divorced from your spouse, you will likely only be living off of one, rather than two, incomes. You should reconfigure a budget that allows you to live comfortably based on your new expenses and your own income.

Begin Separating Your Accounts

If you are married, chances are you and your spouse had at least one joint financial account. Many couples share checking accounts, savings accounts, credit cards, investment accounts, and even retirement accounts. While you are separated, you should begin the process of separating your accounts. Open your own personal checking and savings accounts and close any credit card accounts that do not currently carry a balance.

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alternatives to divorce, Illinois divorce attorney, Illinois family law attorneyDivorce is a frightening and heartbreaking concept, but it is a reality for many Americans. It is often the realization that the hopes and wishes of what was intended to be a happy and satisfying marriage have failed.

Whether a relatively young couple is coming to terms with the fact that their marriage is not working, or an older couple is realizing that they are no longer happier together, divorce is never easy. Added on top of the emotional troubles is the grinding legal work that is a part of the process. When children or large amounts of property are involved, divorce can become even more complicated. Facing these realities leads some couples to wonder if there are any divorce alternatives.

If it seems like divorce is a very real possibility, one of the first options available to couples is to consult with a family lawyer. Divorce is a legal termination of an agreement, so it makes sense to review the details with a professional—especially since it can impact one's financial life greatly. Every case is unique, so having an attorney review a case can offer some critical insight. It also helps to have legal representation, according to a recent report—especially if the divorce becomes a fierce legal battle.

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marital strain of autism, divorce rate, divorce trend, Illinois divorce lawyerParents helping a child cope with autism may feel the strain on their own relationship. Although much about autism is still unknown, research indicates that married couples might face higher rates of divorce when they have a child affected by autism.

A longitudinal study from the University of Wisconsin-Madison was one of the first major projects to explore marital history of parents for those families with an autistic child. The study found that while parents of an autistic child don’t face a higher divorce rate while the child is young, adolescent children with autism were linked with higher numbers of divorced parents. Many of the marriages in the study ultimately did survive.

The study looked at 391 couples made up of parents of adolescent and adult children with autism, drawing data from the National Survey of Midlife in the United States. For younger children, the divorce rate for parents of autistic children was very similar to parents of disabled children, at least until the child reached the age of eight. At that point, the divorce rate for parents of disabled children starts to go down, but it actually increases for parents of autistic children.

Although many couples reported staying together throughout the challenges of raising an autistic child, the research does point to vulnerability for those marriage couples. The high demands of raising an autistic child at all ages can strain a relationship and lead to arguments. Autism is known as a condition that can vary dramatically between different individuals, meaning that many families have to adapt behaviors and strategies for helping their specific child. Little research has focused on best practices for raising autistic children, making it difficult for parents to work together and create their own approach. If you are struggling with your marriage and would like to discuss legal separation or divorce, contact an Illinois family lawyer today.
The Law Office of Matthew M. Williams, P.C.

630-409-8184

1444 North Farnsworth Avenue, Suite 307, Aurora, IL 60505

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