How Can I Get Divorced if I Cannot Afford to Move Out?

divorcesDivorce is a notoriously expensive process. Even if spouses in Illinois are able to afford their own attorneys, figuring out how to live in separate households may be a financial non-starter. The cost of supporting yourself in a separate apartment, and maybe paying spousal maintenance and child support on top of that, may be out of reach. Yet when the relationship is over, it is over. Illinois allows spouses to get divorced without a waiting period, even if they still live together, but the ability to get divorced is not the same thing as moving out and starting your own life again. Spouses who want a divorce but cannot afford to move out have to get creative when beginning their formal separation.

Understand “Separate and Apart”

Illinois does have a six-month waiting period of living “separate and apart” between filing for divorce and completing the process, but this only applies when one spouse does not agree to the divorce. If a spouse is uncooperative, living separate and apart for six months satisfies the criteria for “irreconcilable differences” that permits a divorce to be finalized.

Fortunately, living separate and apart does not necessarily entail living in separate households. Rather, it means that two people are no longer living as a married couple. This means spouses are no longer sharing a bed, having sex, or spending their free time together. This allows spouses who are no longer in a functioning relationship to get divorced, even if they live in the same house and one spouse contests the divorce. But if both spouses agree to the divorce, then there is no waiting period and the divorce can take place immediately.

Begin Separating Finances

Establishing separate checking accounts, credit cards, and cellphone accounts is an effective and appropriate way to begin separating your shared lives. Although one spouse may not hoard marital assets in an individual savings account, beginning to separate your finances and put aside money can help you move out in the future, even if you cannot do so now.

Move into Separate Bedrooms

Of course, not everyone lives in a home that allows them to live in a different bedroom than their spouse. But, depending on the level of hostility in a relationship, it may be better to sleep on a couch in a home office than in a bedroom with your spouse. This will also help you establish that you are living separate and apart if your spouse contests the divorce. Consider speaking with family and friends to see if there is a place you can stay while you get on your feet.

Begin Using a Parenting Time Schedule

Even before the divorce is finalized, you may find that you and your spouse want to spend time with your children separately. Formalizing an arrangement in a parenting time agreement can reduce conflict and prepare you for when the divorce does take place. Talk to your spouse and try to negotiate a mutually agreeable schedule for you each to spend time with your children.

Apply For a Waiver of Filing Fees

Just the filing fees for divorce can be significant, but people can sometimes get these fees waived by filing a fee waiver. Additionally, consider whether you may be eligible for interim spousal maintenance. This may be awarded from one spouse to another when one spouse makes more money and can help support the spouse with less money during the divorce.

Consult with a Rolling Meadows Divorce Lawyer

Divorce can be a complex and expensive enterprise, yet people who are not wealthy get divorced every day. Donald J. Cosley, an experienced Arlington Heights, IL divorce attorney, can help you create a plan that takes your financial circumstances into account. Call Cosley Law Office at 847-253-3100 to schedule your free, confidential consultation today.




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