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rolling meadows divorce lawyerIllinois is a no-fault divorce state, meaning that spouses cannot give specific reasons for getting divorced other than “irreconcilable differences.” Even ugly or distasteful behaviors such as infidelity and domestic violence will not give one spouse preferential treatment during divorce proceedings. That being said, judges are very sensitive to the physical and emotional danger that domestic violence can cause to spouses and children, and there are protections available to victims of domestic violence. If you are thinking about getting divorced from an abusive spouse, here are some ways you might expect your divorce to be different. 

Getting an Order of Protection

When you are ready to file for divorce, it may be wise to get an order of protection. These are legally binding court orders that require an abuser to stay away from a victim and his or her children, including their schools and workplaces. You can get an Emergency Order of Protection ex parte, meaning your spouse does not have to be present during the initial hearing. However, to extend the order of protection, you will both need to appear before a judge to present your evidence. Your attorney can help you gather evidence and file for an order of protection. 

Custody Matters

Although judges are typically wary of giving parental responsibilities (custody) and parenting time (visitation) to only one parent, if one parent poses a clear danger of violence to children, a judge will not expose that child to such a risk for the sake of preserving the parent-child relationship. Instead, a judge may temporarily grant one parent full custody while giving the allegedly abusive parent supervised visitation. Other times, the abusive parent will get no custody at all. 

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shutterstock_605213087-2.jpg Legal separation is an alternative to divorce, offering the disputing spouses space, security, and time to evaluate their marriage. Although not a surefire precursor to divorce, like divorce, legal separation also requires a court order. To seek a legal separation, married spouses must live apart and address parental responsibilities, child support, and spousal support. Divorce can be emotionally strenuous and financially draining. Legal separation might be a viable solution as it can prepare families for the finalization of divorce or give them a chance of reconciliation.

Similarities and Differences between Legal Separation and Divorce

In a legal separation, all assets and debts accumulated after the separation are non-marital, but benefits like health insurance are still shared. Legally separated spouses are granted the liberty to assess their marital strife peacefully. Legal separation can be temporary as there is always a possibility of a reunion. Separated spouses are still technically married.

Divorce ends a marriage. Marital property is divided, and shared benefits are terminated. Divorce is final, and contested ones can be acrimonious and prolonged in courts. 

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