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Cook County Legal Separation Attorney

Bucktown Legal Separation Attorney

Lawyer for Clients Facing Legal Separation Proceedings in the Greater Chicago Area

When a couple is having serious problems, it is not uncommon for one spouse to move out of the marital home and find a new place to live for a period of time. Most people would describe a couple in such a situation as being "separated." It is important to understand, however, that this type of separation is not considered a "legal separation" under Illinois law. Instead, the spouses are considered "living separate and apart," and there are important distinctions between the two.

A legal separation means much more than separate living arrangements, though living apart is one of the requirements for a couple that wishes to obtain a legal separation. In fact, a legal separation is very much like a divorce in many regards. The most important difference is that once an Illinois court has issued a judgment of legal separation, the spouses remain married to one another. Neither spouse can get married again unless the marriage is annulled or the couple takes additional steps to formalize a divorce. At The Law Offices of Curtis Bennett Ross, LLC, our team can help you determine if a legal separation is the best option for your situation.

Possible Benefits of Legal Separation in Illinois

If you and your spouse are experiencing issues in your marriage, there are a few reasons that you may consider seeking a legal separation. Depending on the circumstances, you might not be sure that your marriage is actually over. You may have hope that you can work out your differences with your spouse after spending time away from one another. In a situation such as this, obtaining a legal separation gives you the ability to separate your finances from those of your spouse. If you do file for a legal separation, you and your spouse will need to address concerns such as the allocation of parental responsibilities, child support, and, if necessary, spousal support. You will still be married, so if you decide to reconcile, you will be able to get back with your spouse without having to get remarried. If you determine that a divorce is in your best interests, the process is likely to be more efficient, as many of the important issues will have already been settled by the separation order.

Under Illinois law, any assets or debts that either spouse acquires after obtaining a legal separation are considered to be non-marital property. This means that they will not be divided if you decide to get divorced. With this in mind, a legal separation may be a good option if you are facing the possibility of a contested divorce, which could take many months or even longer to finalize. Your judgment of legal separation can offer you and your spouse the freedom to make decisions about property and finances without having to worry about them affecting your divorce. This can be especially helpful if you own a business or have other complex financial investments.

Other reasons to consider a legal separation include maintaining access to certain benefits, such as pension payouts, health insurance, and social security payments, that would be terminated by a divorce. You might also think about becoming legally separated if personal or religious beliefs are keeping you from obtaining a divorce. A legal separation could also allow you to remain eligible for specific tax benefits that only apply to couples who are legally married. Regardless of your reasons, the team at The Law Offices of Curtis Bennett Ross, LLC will help you protect your rights throughout the legal separation process.

Protecting Your Best Interests

A legal separation may not end your marriage but obtaining one can be complicated. Illinois law encourages spouses who are seeking a legal separation to work together toward an agreement on a parenting plan and support-related concerns. With more than 30 years of family law experience, Attorney Curtis Bennett Ross can help you and your spouse develop an agreement that both meets your needs and protects your rights. If an agreement cannot be reached, however, Mr. Ross will assist you in taking your case to court for a separation judgment.

In such proceedings, the court will make decisions, if necessary, regarding support and parental responsibilities. The court will not, however, make any determinations about dividing your marital property. If you and your spouse wish to divide your assets and debts, you are permitted but not required to do so. A fair and equitable property settlement agreement will be approved by the court and incorporated into the separation order.

Let Us Help

For more information about our firm and how we can assist you with your legal separation proceedings, contact our office. Call 312-984-1514 for a free, limited consultation today. Our team serves clients throughout Cook County, including the neighborhoods of Wicker Park, West Loop, DePaul Area, Oak Park, Greektown, Old Town, Lincoln Park, Bucktown, The Loop, and Gold Coast.

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