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Will County divorce lawyerKnowing when a marriage relationship is truly over can be nearly impossible. Many spouses waver between calling it quits and pursuing reconciliation for months or years before filing divorce paperwork. If your marriage is on rocky ground, you may be researching your options. Legal separation does not end a marriage, but it can offer important legal and financial protections. Read on to learn about the difference between divorce and legal separation and the advantages and disadvantages of each option.

Divorce Versus Legal Separation

When a married couple divorces, their marriage is terminated and spouses are free to remarry. Legal separation, on the other hand, preserves the marriage relationship. Legal separation is more than being physically separated or living apart. When a couple is legally separated, the marriage still exists, but the spouses are subject to binding court orders regarding divorce issues like property division and child support. This makes legal separation an attractive option for spouses who are not ready to divorce but still want to address these issues. (Property division in a legal separation differs from property division in a divorce in that the court only divides property if the spouses agree. Otherwise, asset division is reserved by default.)

You may also decide to file for legal separation instead of divorce if you have religious or personal beliefs that prohibit divorce. Some spouses seek separation instead of divorce so that they can continue to stay on the other spouse’s health insurance plan. Being separated but still legally married may also preserve your access to your spouse’s Social Security or pension benefits.

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Will County domestic violence lawyerDomestic violence and abuse are extremely prevalent in today’s society. However, we rarely talk about it. Some victims of domestic violence believe that the abuser will change or that the abuse was an isolated event. Others are unsure of whether the mistreatment they are suffering is even considered abuse under Illinois law. If you have been assaulted, abused, or threatened by a family member, current or ex romantic partner, or current or former housemate, read on to learn about Emergency Orders of Protection in Illinois.

Is The Situation “Bad Enough” for a Protection Order?

Men and women of all ages, ethnicities, and income levels can find themselves the victims of threats, intimidation, or violence. No one should ever be forced to tolerate a situation that makes them afraid for their safety or the safety of their children. However, many victims never get a protection order or restraining order because they assume that the mistreatment has not crossed the line into abuse.

It is important to remember that domestic violence often escalates. According to the National Domestic Violence Hotline, abusive people often escalate their behavior when they feel like they are losing control over the victim. If you feel unsafe, do not wait to take action.

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Joliet divorce lawyerIn a marriage, “yours” and “mine” become “ours.” Unfortunately, undoing this financial entanglement during divorce is one of the most complicated parts of the divorce process. Property held by the marital estate, or marital property, is jointly held by both spouses. Marital property must be properly valued and divided between the spouses in a divorce. Separate property, on the other hand, belongs only to one spouse. Typically, property either spouse acquires during the marriage is marital property and property a spouse owned prior to the marriage is separate property. However, differentiating between marital property and separate property is not so straightforward when assets have been commingled or mixed.

Property Rights During a Marriage

Illinois divorce cases are subject to the rules of equitable distribution. Spouses are entitled to a fair share of the marital estate. Spouses may negotiate a property division agreement, or, if they are unable to agree, the court will determine how the marital property should be divided.

Separate or non-marital property is property that:

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Joliet child custody attorneyChild custody matters can be complicated for anyone. However, custody and co-parenting concerns can be especially difficult to navigate for same-sex couples.

If you are getting divorced and you have children, you may wonder how the state defines each parent’s right to parenting time and parental responsibilities. You may wonder if homosexual couples are treated differently under the law than heterosexual couples. You may worry that you will not have a right to spend time with your child if your same-sex relationship ends. Concerns like these are valid, and the best way to know how best to handle child custody and parentage issues is to work with a skilled family law attorney. Additionally, it is important to understand how Illinois law determines child custody with same-sex parents in a divorce.

Same-Sex Parents and Divorce

The Illinois divorce process is generally the same for same-sex spouses as it is for opposite-sex spouses. However, the details can vary slightly when children are involved, especially when it comes to the allocation of parental responsibilities.

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Will County family law attorneyChild support is a crucial resource for divorced and unmarried parents. However, meeting your child support obligation can be extremely difficult when you have no source of income. If you or your child’s other parent was fired, laid off, or quit his or her job, you may wonder how this will affect child support. Do unemployed and underemployed parents still have to pay child support? What happens if a parent voluntarily quits his or her job?

Child Support Calculations When a Parent is Unemployed

The amount that a parent pays in child support in Illinois is based on the “income shares” model. Both parents’ net incomes are used to determine an appropriate child support obligation. When one parent has no income, this obviously affects child support calculations considerably. However, the reason that a parent is unemployed also factors heavily into the situation.

Involuntary Unemployment

If a parent was laid off or terminated and makes honest attempts to regain suitable employment, the court will likely look much more favorably on his or her situation. The unemployed parent may be granted relief through a lower child support payment amount. However, unemployed parents cannot simply stop making payments or pay a lower amount on their own. They will need to seek an official modification of their child support order to lower their child support obligation. Failure to follow the proper procedure to modify child support can result in penalties for nonpayment.

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