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St. Charles family law attorney legal separation

People often use the term “separated” to refer to married couples who have decided to end their marriage but are not yet divorced. Many people also use the term synonymously with living separately. However, there is a major difference between living separately and being legally separated. An Illinois legal separation involves a court order that binds spouses to certain terms involving property, financial support, and parental responsibility. Couples that are legally separated are still technically married and may not remarry until they get divorced.

Being Legally Separated Involves Much More Than Living Separately

There are a few reasons why a married couple may wish to be legally separated instead of divorced. Some couples simply want to avoid the finality of divorce. They may have serious marital issues to resolve but are hoping that they will be able to eventually reconcile. Other people choose to avoid divorce for religious or cultural reasons. There may also be certain financial and tax-related benefits associated with staying married. For example, an individual may wish to remain married so that he or she can continue to have access to his or her spouse’s health insurance plan or retirement benefits.

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St. Charles family law attorneys“The best interests of the child” is one of the most common phrases in the realm of family law. A child’s well-being, of course, should remain among the top priorities in proceedings for divorce, allocation of parental responsibilities, parenting time, non-parent visitation, and adoption. The challenge, however, is that determining what exactly constitutes a child’s best interests is open to interpretation. As such, each parent may fully believe that they are acting in their child’s best interests yet hold vastly different objectives regarding the outcome of the case.

Helping the Process

When you and your child’s other parent cannot agree on a parenting plan or other arrangements regarding your child, the court is likely to offer several options. To start with, you may be required to participate in court-ordered mediation designed to help you and the other parent reach an agreement with the help of a third-party mediator. Mediation, however, is only possible in situations where both parties are willing and able to work constructively with one another.

Alternatively, the court may appoint a specially-trained and certified attorney—not one who is representing either you or the other party—to serve as a guardian ad litem (GAL). The guardian ad litem will be expected to investigate your family’s circumstances to develop an outside, objective opinion of what the child’s best interests are. Based on the GAL’s findings, the GAL will make a recommendation to the court regarding the most appropriate outcome for the case.

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In honor of the passing of our founder, Joseph F. Mirabella, Jr., our offices are closed Friday, January 31, 2020.I Agree