dating, Arlington Heights divorce lawyersIf you are in the midst of a divorce, there is a very good chance that you feel like your marriage has been over for quite some time. The legal proceedings associated with divorce are important steps toward your new life, of course, but from a personal standpoint, you have probably started to move on already. As the divorce process continues, you might be tempted to start a romantic relationship with a new partner. The thrill of a new relationship, along with the feelings of appreciation and empowerment that often come with it, can certainly be attractive. Depending on your situation, however, you may want to avoid dating someone new until your divorce is finalized.

Legal Concerns

According to the laws that govern divorce in Illinois, you are not prevented from seeking a new romantic relationship while your divorce is ongoing. If you decide that dating is right for you, it is important for you to keep track of how you pay for your dates. You can use your own money, of course, but if you are found to be spending marital assets on your new partner, your spending could be considered dissipation. Dissipated funds will need to be paid back to the marital estate before it is divided.

You should also be careful about how public your new relationship is. Technically, Illinois law still recognized adultery as a misdemeanor criminal offense. Sexual intercourse with someone who is not your spouse could be prosecuted as a crime “if the behavior is open and notorious.” It has been decades since an Illinois resident was prosecuted for adultery, but such a prosecution is still possible.

Practical Matters

When you date during your divorce, most of the effects will probably be indirect. You are likely to feel more happy, confident, and strong as you approach your case, which could give you a sense of control over the situation. Your spouse, however, could react to your newfound happiness with anger triggered by feelings of regret or spite. This could lead to him or her being less willing to budge on issues related to the divorce. As a result, you could be facing increased costs in terms of both time and money.

You should also be careful not to become so involved with dating that you neglect your other important responsibilities, such as those regarding your children. If you are not cautious with how you are spending your time—and with whom—your spouse could attempt to paint you as a negligent parent. Keep in mind, the court has the authority to act on even just the appearance of danger or impropriety, and it may be best not to take any chances.

Contact a Rolling Meadows Divorce Attorney

Some divorcing couples set ground rules regarding dating during the divorce process, but for others, the situation is much more complicated than they ever thought possible. If you are facing the possibility of a divorce, contact an experienced family lawyer in Arlington Heights for guidance. Schedule a free consultation by calling 847-253-3100 today.



Posted in Divorce | Tagged , , , , ,

contested, Rolling Meadows divorce attorneyDivorces in Illinois can be either contested or uncontested. At the crux of any divorce are the issues of property and debt division, child custody or the allocation of parental responsibilities, and support/maintenance payments. When divorcing couples are able to come to an agreement about these issues, either on their own or through mediation, they can begin an uncontested divorce. Although every divorce involves at least some degree of disagreement, these disagreements do not always require court intervention. On the other hand, spouses who cannot come to an agreement on their own must undergo a contested divorce.

What Is a Contested Divorce?

Contested divorces are those in which spouses cannot reach a decision as to the terms of the divorce and must therefore go to trial. Contested divorces can be more expensive and time-consuming than uncontested divorces, so most experts suggest avoiding this route. However, in some cases, such as when one or both spouses are unwilling or unable to cooperate, a contested divorce is necessary.

Generally, a contested divorce involves the following steps:

  • Filing the petition for dissolution of marriage;
  • Responding to the petition;
  • Hiring a competent divorce attorney;
  • “Divorce discovery” which is the information-gathering process;
  • Pre-trial legal motions and hearings;
  • Negotiations and settlement proposals;
  • The court trial; and
  • Any appeals brought by a spouse.

The court will examine all of the issues related to the divorce and issue a final order which includes all of the judge’s verdicts. Spouses are expected to follow the instructions in the final divorce order. A spouse who disagrees with the outcome of a divorce trial does have the right to appeal, however, appeals are not always successful.

Dealing with the Emotional Burden of a Contested Divorce

Although every divorce has the potential to be emotionally taxing, contested divorces are often especially burdensome. Mental health experts suggest that those going through a contested or high-conflict divorce practice a high degree of self-care during the separation and divorce process. Accepting your feelings as they are and giving yourself permission to grieve the situation can be helpful. Additionally, experts suggest sticking to a schedule, getting regular exercise, eating healthy, and engaging in hobbies during stressful divorces. Many people find that a divorce support group or reaching out to friends, family, or community members can help them manage the emotional burden of a challenging divorce as well.

Contact an Arlington Heights Family Law Attorney

For more information about Illinois divorce law, contact the dedicated Rolling Meadows divorce lawyers at the Cosley Law Office. Call us today at 847-253-3100 to set up your completely cost-free initial consultation.



Posted in Divorce, Illinois Family Law Attorney | Tagged , , , , ,

legal separation, Arlington Heights family law attorneyIf you and your spouse are considering ending your marriage, you may have questions about legal separation. Although divorce is the most common way a married couple splits, it is not the only option Illinois couples have. A legal separation is a special court order that dictates the rights and responsibilities of a couple. A legal separation does not technically end a marriage, but it functions very similarly to a divorce. Although legal separations are less common than divorce, they can be a beneficial legal tool for spouses who have personal or financial issues upsetting the marriage. There are advantages and disadvantages to both divorce and legal separation. A qualified Illinois family law attorney can help you further understand which option is best for your unique family and financial situation.

Differences Between Divorce and Legal Separation

The most important difference between legal separation and divorce is that a legally separated couple remains legally married whereas a divorced couple is no longer legally married. Some couples choose a legal separation instead of a divorce specifically because this option allows them to stay legally married. Remaining legally married is important to some for cultural or religious reasons. A separation also preserves most healthcare and social security benefits that are generally terminated through a divorce. Divorce ends spouses’ rights to property benefits upon the death of the other, but couples with a legal separation still have property rights.

Spousal Maintenance, Child Custody, and Parental Responsibilities

As a part of the separation process, a court can decide the allocation of parental responsibilities (formerly called child custody), parenting time (visitation), child support, and spousal maintenance (also called alimony or spousal support). Some couples find that a legal separation can help them provide a stable child custody and visitation schedule while they consider the possibility of divorce. The courts are not authorized to divide marital property during a separation unless the spouses agree on how marital property should be distributed.

Illinois couples seeking a separation will be asked to sign a “separation agreement.” This legally binding contract includes directives regarding:

  • Child custody and the allocation of parental rights and responsibilities;
  • Child visitation and parenting time;
  • Child support;
  • Marital property division and sharing of debts, if the couple chooses; and
  • Spousal maintenance and spousal support.

Contact an Experienced Rolling Meadows, Illinois Family Law Attorney

For more information about legal separation, divorce, child custody, spousal maintenance, or other aspects of family law, contact the knowledgeable Arlington Heights divorce lawyers at Cosley Law Office. Call our office today at 847-253-3100 to schedule your cost-free initial consultation.



Posted in Divorce, Legal Separation | Tagged , , , , , ,