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kane county divorce lawyerMany people want to believe that after they go through the long process of seeking and finalizing a divorce they can just put everything behind them and never think about any agreement again. However, many agreements may need to be revisited. 

Terms of a divorce decree cannot be changed individually by either spouse, so a party will have to seek a modification through the court when they need some kind of major corrective change made to their original divorce decree. You may be able to simplify your case by working in agreement with your former spouse for any modification.

How Modifications Work

Modifications most commonly relate to child custody, parental responsibilities, child support, spousal support, and property division. You have two ways to seek modifications:

Geneva, IL legal separation lawyerLegal separation is an alternative to divorce that allows spouses to formally separate without terminating the marriage entirely. Spouses who are granted a legal separation are still married, but may have certain orders or agreements in place that are reminiscent of a divorce decree. For example, separated spouses may be entitled to “reasonable support and maintenance” during the separation. Legally separating has certain advantages over divorce. It is easier to undo the effects of a legal separation. Spouses who divorce would be required to remarry should they reconcile and wish to begin living as a married couple again, while those who have legally separated may have significantly easier options should they restart their relationship. If you are considering divorce or legal separation, work with an experienced Illinois lawyer who can guide you through the process. 

Could I Get Support From My Spouse After Separating?

It is possible for some spouses who are legally separating or have legally separated to receive financial support from their spouse. The Illinois statute that provides for legal separation authorizes separated spouses to pursue support payments so a spouse who has not worked for pay during the marriage can pursue separation more easily. The manner in which support payments are addressed and decided in legal separation is similar to the method by which this issue would be settled in divorce. 

Is Property Divided During Separation Proceedings?

When spouses who have been living together separate into two households, there may be disagreements regarding who should maintain possession of various marital property. While spouses who are pursuing a divorce may ask the court to decide on an allocation of marital property, spouses who are pursuing legal separation must reach an agreement as to the division of marital property if such a division is to be included in the order. 

geneva divorce lawyerIf you have been browsing divorce topics, you have likely seen countless articles urging you to consider divorce mediation or attorney-facilitated negotiation as a means of resolving your divorce out of court. Collaborative divorce is another common alternative resolution method during divorce. Collaborative divorce requires both parties to actively participate, and to do so in good faith. A mutual willingness to compromise is a necessity. Either spouse, unfortunately, has the power to delay or frustrate the process. If no agreement can be reached after substantial efforts have been made, you will be left with no option but to resort to divorce litigation. In some cases where it is abundantly clear that mediation or negotiations are likely to fail, it may be more prudent to make litigation your plan from the outset. An experienced attorney can assess your situation and help you decide whether yours is a divorce that cannot be settled out of court. 

Situations Suggesting That Collaborative Divorce or Mediation May Not Succeed

No matter how willing to compromise you are, mediation efforts will generally be futile if your spouse does not share your willingness. Circumstances that may suggest that mediation and  collaborative divorce may be insufficient include: 

  • Abuse - If your spouse has abused you or your children in any way at all, it suggests that they are not the type of person who can settle their disagreements in the rational manner demanded by collaborative divorce. Additionally, attempting to negotiate with them directly and outside a courtroom setting may provoke them or be emotionally distressing to you. It also opens the door for threats to be made to force the abused party to comply with the abuser’s demands. 
  • Severe mental illness - If your spouse has a severe mental illness like Borderline Personality Disorder or Bipolar Disorder, their illness may impact their ability to participate in negotiation or mediation in a productive manner. They may be more interested in placing blame on you than in reaching an agreement. 
  • Substance abuse - People who are almost always intoxicated are not known for their ability to keep their commitments. It can be difficult to get a person with a substance use disorder to show up for scheduled mediation sessions or to return communications promptly and use comprehensible language. 
  • Extreme conflict - While you certainly do not need to be amicable with your spouse to reap the benefits of collaborative divorce, you do need to be capable of communicating without fighting. If negotiating with your spouse would cause emotional distress and escalating conflict, it may be best to go to court. 

These are only a few examples of circumstances that may suggest that alternative resolution methods are not right for you. You should discuss your concerns with a qualified attorney. 

Can I Get An Annulment in Illinois?

Posted on in Divorce

geneva famly law attorneyIn Illinois, if you want to get your marriage annulled, you can petition the court for a Declaration of Invalidity. Many people assume they can easily get their marriage annulled. However, it is more difficult to receive an annulment than a divorce, contrary to the commonly held belief that divorce is more difficult to achieve. 

A Declaration of Invalidity of Marraige deems a marriage invalid. Divorce ends a marriage. Annulment, on the other hand, states that a marriage was never valid to begin with. 

To get a marriage annulled in Illinois, there must be proof of impotence, bigamy, or proof that one party was unable to consent at the time of the marriage. This may be due to coercion, force, or the influence of alcohol or drugs. If an individual was underage at the time of marriage commencement, that is also proof of invalidity of marriage. Though these examples may seem simple enough to prove, it is often difficult to provide sufficient evidence. This is demonstrated in the court’s seldom practice of granting Declarations of Invalidity outside of the circumstance in which one spouse was under the age of consent. 

illinois legal separation lawyerIllinois offers two options for spouses who want to split up - divorce or legal separation. Legal separation allows the court to step in and help determine matters like allocation of parenting time and parental responsibilities, or even spousal support. Property division in legal separation can only be handled by a court if both spouses agree to the terms of property division. However, a legal separation does not end the marriage. Spouses who legally separate are still spouses. Divorce is final and allows the court to determine all issues related to the termination of your marriage. There are a number of reasons that spouses may want to separate without fully divorcing. A family law attorney can help you decide which option is better for you, your spouse, and your children. 

Reasons Spouses May Legally Separate Without Divorcing

Some reasons that you and your spouse may wish to get a legal separation instead of a divorce include: 

  • Benefits - Many spouses need to remain married in order to keep benefits like health insurance, pension funds, or social security. Divorcing may mean that one or both of you will lose out on important benefits. Legal separation allows you to live separately without terminating the benefits you rely on. 
  • Possibility of reconciliation - A legal separation is much easier to undo than a divorce. If you get divorced, you would have to remarry. Remarrying an ex-spouse after divorce can be complicated, as each of you now has significant separate property that you were awarded in the divorce. If you legally separate, it is easier to undo the separation, move back in together, and go back to living as a married couple. 
  • Taxes - Some spouses wish to avoid getting divorced so they can continue filing taxes jointly. 
  • Religion - If your religious beliefs or culture does not allow for divorce in normal circumstances, a legal separation may be a good option. It allows you to live independently from your spouse and divide parenting duties without getting divorced. 

Disadvantages of Legal Separation Over Divorce

There are of course, a few downsides of legal separation, such as: 

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