When couples are having marital problems, spending time apart can be a good way to diffuse a situation that has become emotionally charged. In some circumstances, a temporary separation can help both people get some perspective on themselves and their relationship. In other cases, a spouse who is contemplating divorce requires something more definite, such as an actual legal document specifying they are separated and defining the terms of the separation. In Illinois, the law allows spouses to obtain a legal separation clearly defining the terms under which the couple will live separate and apart. If you or someone you know is contemplating getting a divorce, filing for legal separation may be a crucial first step.
For many couples, divorce is a process. Spouses often cite irreconcilable differences as a major factor in the deterioration of the marriage; this may include differing opinions on everything from money to child raising to general lifestyle. In many cases, there have been months or even years of emotional turmoil in the relationship, or it may simply be a case of the couple steadily growing further apart. A physical separation is often the culmination of these marital difficulties. While a physical separation may give spouses some independence and breathing room from the marriage, it doesn’t provide any type of legal rights or protections while the spouses live apart.
Chapter 750, Act 5, Section 402 of the Illinois Compiled Statutes allows spouses who are physically separated from one another to obtain an actual legal separation. Often used as a tool to allow a spouse to receive support and maintenance prior to filing for a divorce, the main advantage in obtaining a legal separation is the ability to get a court order concerning the following:
A legal separation doesn’t end the marriage, nor does it value or distribute the title to property from the marriage. It does provide a formal, legal arrangement for spouses living separate and apart.
The law requires that when filing for legal separation, the parties must be currently living separate and apart at the time of the court filing, and the spouse who files for legal separation must be able to show they are not the at fault party for the separation. Legal action begins with a petition outlining both your claims, as well as your requests for relief, such as spousal or child support. The petition is filed with the Clerk of the Circuit Court in the county in which you reside. Once the petition has been filed, a copy is then delivered by a sheriff’s deputy to your spouse, along with a summons notifying them of the proceedings. Your spouse has time to respond or answer your petition, and a hearing before a judge will then be scheduled. At the hearing, the judge will review the claims, and render a judgment as to the types of relief sought.
If you’re contemplating a divorce or separation, it’s important to have an experienced divorce attorney on your side. Contact Sabuco, Beck, Hansen, Massino & Pollack, P.C. today to get the legal experience you need and the comprehensive service you deserve. Our team of attorneys can advise you on how best to proceed, while always looking out for your best interests. Let our knowledge and experience work for you. Providing effective, aggressive legal services throughout Will County and the surrounding area, call us today at (815) 730-8860.
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