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Are You Required to Separate Before Divorcing in Illinois?Once you and your spouse have decided that you want to divorce, you likely want to start the process as soon as you are ready. Creating a divorce agreement can take months while you gather information, negotiate the terms, and wait for your court date. You may also wonder whether Illinois requires you to live separately before you can file for divorce. If you ask this question to someone who got divorced five or more years ago, they may tell you that they had to live separately for months or years before they could divorce. However, Illinois divorce law no longer requires spouses to live separately, though proving that you have already been separated can help in some cases.

How Separation Helps

Illinois practices no-fault divorce, meaning that spouses do not cite grounds such as infidelity for divorcing. Spouses will often, but not always, agree on filing for divorce. When a spouse disputes a divorce, the divorce filer only must prove that there are irreconcilable differences. Prior to 2016, Illinois required spouses who both agreed to divorce to live separately for six months before they could file. If they disagreed on getting a divorce, the separation requirement to prove irreconcilable differences was two years. However, Illinois changed its divorce law in 2016:

  • Spouses who both agree to divorce can file immediately.
  • If the spouses disagree, showing that they have lived separately for at least six months will create a presumption of irreconcilable differences.

Even without living separately, citing irreconcilable differences is fairly easy to prove to the court. Even if spouses disagree on whether their marriage can be salvaged, the court may rule that the disagreement is proof of irreconcilable differences.

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Improving Your Communication With Your Ex During DivorcePoor communication is one of the fundamental reasons that many couples end up divorcing. Thus, it should be no surprise if your poor communication continues during and after your divorce. Your communication will affect your ability to negotiate your divorce agreement in a timely manner, which may increase the cost of your divorce. If you have children from your marriage, you will need to communicate with your co-parent as long as you are sharing parental responsibilities. Healthy communication between divorced couples requires cooperation from both sides. You can improve your attitude and approach towards communication by following these suggestions:

  1. Know When Not to Talk: There are times when you are better off waiting before responding to your spouse, letting your divorce lawyer talk for you, or not responding at all. Avoid talking to your spouse when you are in a bad mood and feel tempted to respond emotionally. If your spouse is the one lashing out at you, do not let them draw you into an emotionally charged conversation. Your lawyer can handle sensitive conversations that are likely to cause conflict.
  2. Set Communication Boundaries: You have the right to request that your spouse not contact you except during specific situations. Receiving unexpected messages can be stressful and make you feel pressured to respond. You can tell your spouse that you want to limit your communication to your divorce negotiations and scheduled calls to discuss your children. They should not contact you outside of those times unless it is an emergency.
  3. Watch Your Tone: The way in which you talk to your spouse can determine their reaction. Your tone should always be civil, leaning towards a friendly voice. Avoid shouting, scolding, sarcasm, or other tones that may elicit an emotional response. Be careful when sending an email or text message because your spouse may interpret the tone of your message in a different way than what you intended.
  4. Stay On-Topic: Communication between divorcing spouses can break down when they talk about issues that are unrelated to settling their divorce. Discussing your grievances with each other will distract you from the work you need to complete and inject negative emotions into your negotiations. Stay focused on the present instead of reliving past arguments.

Contact a Naperville, Illinois, Divorce Lawyer

When you are uncertain of how to best communicate during your divorce, you should turn to your lawyer for advice. A DuPage County divorce attorney at Calabrese Associates, P.C., can lead you through an amicable divorce process. To schedule a consultation, call 630-393-3111.

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Relearning Life Skills Following Your DivorceOne of the advantages of being married is having someone to share the workload when it comes to completing the responsibilities that come with adult life. Whether it is intentional or not, spouses tend to assign tasks to each other that become their sole responsibility. When you divorce, you will be responsible for completing the tasks that your spouse previously took care of. There are some tasks that you have experience doing, but you will need to adjust to being the one who does them. For instance, you may need to remind yourself which day you take the trash to the curb for pickup. There are other tasks that will require you to learn new skills. Maybe you have no experience with making meals for your children or paying your bills. Whatever the tasks may be, there are a few steps you can follow to better handle them:

  1. Make a List of Tasks: Your first step is to figure out which tasks you need to complete on a regular basis. It may help to write out these tasks in a list. Expect that you will continue to update the list as you realize additional tasks that you are responsible for.
  2. Organize Your List: Some tasks take priority over others. For instance, paying your bills on time is more urgent than regularly cleaning your home. Both tasks need to be completed, but there are immediate consequences for missing a payment. If a task has a deadline, record it on a calendar so you do not forget.
  3. Study Up on Your Skills: It is okay if there are tasks that you do not know how to perform, whether it is using a washing machine or managing your budget. Even if you have past experience with a task, the way it is done may have changed since the last time you were single. For instance, many bills are now paid electronically instead of through the mail. Use the resources at your disposal to learn more about these tasks, such as watching tutorial videos or asking friends and family for advice.
  4. Get Your Kids Involved: There may be age-appropriate chores that your children can help you with. Maybe they can take out the trash or assist with washing and drying dishes. Your children will learn life skills and the importance of taking responsibility around the house.

Contact a Naperville, Illinois, Divorce Attorney

Divorce will be a large adjustment to your lifestyle but is manageable with planning and effort. A DuPage County divorce lawyer at Calabrese Associates, P.C., can help you prepare for life after divorce. To schedule a consultation, call 630-393-3111.

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How the Coronavirus Is Impacting Divorce CasesAll Illinois residents are currently experiencing some disruption in their lives because of the coronavirus epidemic. This includes people who are planning to or in the process of getting divorced. The DuPage County Courthouse has postponed hearings that it does not consider to be urgent until at least April 17. With all of the uncertainty surrounding the virus, there is no way of knowing for certain when hearings will be rescheduled and whether the courthouse will have to take other steps to protect the public. For those who have already completed their divorces, there may be urgent questions about what to do if they cannot comply with the support payments and parenting schedule in their divorce agreement.

Support Payments

Many people are currently unable to work because of businesses closing in response to the epidemic. Others may have significantly reduced hours and pay. Unfortunately, people do not know when their jobs may come back if they come back at all. Lost income affects people in many ways, including their ability to pay child support and spousal maintenance. Violating court-ordered support payments can result in fines and penalties. If you are worried that you will not be able to afford your next child support or maintenance payment, you need to contact a divorce lawyer to discuss:

  • How much you can afford pay while having enough money left to pay for your living expenses
  • Whether you need to request a reduction in your support payments because of the change in your income

You will not be able to schedule a hearing to modify your child support or maintenance payments until your local courthouse is operating at a greater capacity. However, you can still prepare and submit your petition and request that the payments be reduced retroactively.

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Posted on in Divorce

Should You Try to ‘Win’ Your Divorce?It is healthy to approach your divorce with clear goals in mind and the motivation to accomplish them. You need a divorce agreement that allows you to financially support yourself and have ample parenting time with your children. However, being overly competitive with your spouse can cause problems. Trying to “win” your divorce may create contentious negotiations that prevent you from achieving an optimal divorce agreement – as well as make the process take longer than it needed to. Instead, an amicable or collaborative divorce process, such as mediation, often results in better agreements that both sides can be satisfied with.

Problems with ‘Winning’

Divorce is not meant to have “winners” and “losers.” Divorce law recognizes that both parties need to benefit from the agreement, and a divorce court will not approve an agreement that flagrantly benefits one side at the expense of the other. There are several problems with believing that you need to win your divorce:

  • You may set unrealistic goals that your spouse will not agree to and a court would reject.
  • You may reject a reasonable offer from your spouse that would benefit you.
  • Your focus may shift towards wanting your spouse to lose, even if you are hurting yourself in the process.
  • You are more likely to be dissatisfied with your final agreement, even if it is objectively a good agreement.

There are unavoidable “losses” for everyone who gets divorced. You will lose a portion of your marital properties. You will lose the ability to pool your income with your spouse’s income to pay for living expenses. You will lose some of the time that you normally get to spend with your children. It is part of the cost of divorce.

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