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DuPage County famila law attorneyAccording to government data, approximately 23.5 million Americans have drug and alcohol addictions.  That works out to roughly one in 10 individuals in the United States over the age of 12. Alcoholism and drug addiction can rob a person of everything they hold dear in life, including their marriage. Of course, drugs and alcohol are not the only types of addictions that occur. Compulsive shopping, gambling addiction, and even sex and pornography addictions can also wreak havoc on a couple’s marriage. If you are considering divorcing your spouse who suffers from an addiction, there are several things you should keep in mind.

Consider a Legal Separation

If you are planning to divorce a spouse suffering from addiction, it is crucial that you take steps to protect your property and assets. Consider placing your money in separate bank accounts instead of a joint account. You may also want to remove your spouse as an authorized user on your credit cards. Generally, any debt which is accumulated after a couple has filed for divorce is not included in the marital estate and subject to property division during divorce, especially debts that were entered into for the benefit of just one spouse.

If you worry that your money will be wasted by your spouse because of their addiction before you file for divorce, you may want to consider filing for legal separation as soon as possible. A person who is legally separated is not responsible for debt accumulated by his or her spouse after the separation. In order for a couple to be granted a legal separation in Illinois, they must be living apart.  


Naperville divorce attorneyNearly all of us know at least one person who would describe his or her relationship status as “separated.” In everyday language, we generally take that to mean that the person is legally married but no longer living in the same home as his or her spouse. The situation may be a “trial separation” or the first action taken on the road toward a divorce. This type of an arrangement occurs so frequently that many people actually believe that separating is a prerequisite for a divorce. Such is no longer the case, at least for those who plan to get divorced in Illinois.

Proper Terminology

It is important, first of all, to understand that the Illinois statutes that govern divorce legally recognize just one type of separation. A legal separation is a formal declaration that is similar to divorce in most aspects, except that it leaves the spouses still married to one another. It is sometimes used by those who are morally or religiously opposed to divorce, as well as those whose divorce is expected to drag on for months or years. This is not what most people mean when they say they are separated.


Posted on in Family Law

Naperville family law attorneyWhen a married couple reaches a point where they do not know if they wish to continue being married, they have several options. One of these options is a legal separation instead of a divorce. There are several reasons why a couple may choose to be separated. A legal separation is a court order that protects each spouse’s rights and responsibilities when they are living apart. The major difference between legal separation and divorce is that separated individuals are still married, versus a divorce where the marriage is ended. Legal separations are not as common as divorce, but there are certain circumstances where a couple’s best option may be a legal separation.

Separation Maintenance and Child Support

Most people associate spousal maintenance, or alimony, with divorce. However, when a couple legally separates, it is possible to obtain maintenance during the separation. Separate maintenance is comparable to alimony or spousal support, but it's not called alimony because the couple is still legally married. Many of the factors used to determine if separate maintenance is necessary are the same as the factors which are used when determining maintenance after a divorce. The amount and duration of the payments will depend on the length of the marriage, spouses' incomes, earning abilities, ages, and physical and mental wellbeing. The court can also determine how child custody will be shared, allocate parental responsibilities and parenting time, and order one parent to pay child support.

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