Making the decision to separate from a spouse can be difficult. Separation? Annulment? Divorce? What are the differences? Are you eligible? How long does each one take?
The questions about ending a marriage are not always easy to answer. An experienced family law attorney in Illinois can provide vital assistance by answering these questions and advising you during proceedings to dissolve a marriage.
Illinois has a very simple requirement for legal separation—live separately. The first day of this separate living is enough to qualify as a legal separation in the state of Illinois. You may even be entitled to reasonable support and maintenance under some circumstances while living apart from your spouse. However, it is important to note that while separated, you and your spouse are still legally married.
In the state of Illinois, what was formerly known as an annulment is now called a Judgment Declaring the Invalidity of a Marriage. A marriage can be declared invalid for the following reasons:
- One or both parties did not have capacity to consent to the marriage;
- One party was unable to consummate the marriage, and the other party was not aware of this fact prior to the date of the marriage;
- One or both parties were not of age or did not have parental consent;
- The marriage is prohibited for some other reason under 750 ILCS 5/212.
In some cases a Judgment Declaring the Invalidity of a Marriage will be retroactive to the date of the marriage. However, if there are substantial marital assets or children of the marriage, then a retroactive declaration may be difficult to obtain.
The only cause for divorce Illinois recognizes is irreconcilable differences (sometimes referred to as a no fault divorce). There is no requirement that the parties be separated before filing for divorce if the divorce is uncontested. However, a separation of at least six months is also considered a determination that the marriage is irretrievably broken.
The court will likely not enter a final order in a divorce case until issues concerning child custody and support, distribution of assets, and disposition of property have been resolved. Once all related issues are settled, the court will issue a final order and the marriage is dissolved at the time that order is entered.
The skilled DuPage County family law attorneys at Sullivan Taylor & Gumina, P.C. understand the complicated and delicate issues surrounding the end of a marriage. We want to answer your questions and help you determine the best course of action for your individual situation. If you and your spouse are considering a divorce, please contact us today to discuss your options.