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Posted on in Divorce

property division, divorce, cohabitation, lawyer, attorney, Illinois divorce lawyer, Chicago divorceThe definition of marital separation is changing. Traditionally, it involved the movement of one or both spouses out of the marital home into smaller houses, or possibly an apartment across town. As more couples deal with upside-down mortgages and a buyer's housing market, the apartment across town becomes the apartment in the basement.

 Many married individuals cannot afford the luxury of a true separation and family law judges are recognizing these financial complexities when making determinations about separation requirements. Ending a marriage often involves the disposition of the marital home. Whether you decide to sell the home and split the proceeds during asset division, or to refinance and “buy out” your spouse, the family home is often the most valuable asset for division in a divorce proceeding. The bursting of the real estate bubble left many married couples owing more than their houses are worth, and selling would leave the family in financial ruins. Those who do choose to sell must wait while their houses sit on the market for months or even years with no response. The only viable alternative is to separate under the same roof in hopes of a real estate turn-around. For some couples, the decision to stay under the same roof is centered around the well-being of the children. Maintaining a sense of stability and routine is just as important as maintaining a roof over their heads. Many parents decide that co-parenting is the best course of action for the children, even in the midst of a painful separation. This can prove beneficial because many judges prefer for parents to make decisions about their children, without necessary intrusion from the court.  How Cohabitation Affects Separation Requirements

Illinois law requires at least a six month separation period before a couple will be granted. divorce. Some states are strict in their definition of separation, mandating that the parties live in completely separate dwellings. In some jurisdictions, one night of cohabitation is enough to break the continuity of separation. Other states are much more liberal, allowing for co-habitation, as long as you maintain different bedrooms and refrain from sexual intercourse throughout the separation. Many jurisdictions fall in the middle of the spectrum, using a totality of the circumstances model to determine whether a true separation has occurred.

 In the past, some Illinois courts have found parties to have met the separation requirement even while living under the same roof. With the widespread phenomena of financial hardship, recent trends suggest that more family court judges are willing to grant divorces for separations occurring under one roof. From a public policy standpoint, separation is meant as a cooling off period, to let feelings settle and perhaps bring about reconciliation. The argument for divorce can be strengthened when reconciliation does not occur among parties under the same roof.  Contact an Illinois Divorce Lawyer An experienced Illinois divorce attorney can advise you about the separation requirements in your case and help you determine whether your housing decisions will impede the process of your divorce. Contact Goostree Law Group, P.C. for a consultation today.
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Posted on in Divorce
In the throes of divorce, planning for the future may seem the farthest thing from your mind, especially when it involves planning for a future you would otherwise have spent together. And yet planning for your kid’s college in the midst of a divorce is an important thing to keep in mind. Just because you’re getting separated doesn’t eradicate the need for college savings and cooperation when it comes to your children, no matter how difficult that may be. Some couples decide to continue to save together for their kids’ college; others each decide to put what they can (or a pre-specified amount) aside and come together only to write the check later. “Saving for college after a divorce is a process of communication,” according to US News and World Report. “However, the communication is easier if a framework is set up during the divorce settlement.” Setting Up a 529 Account For College During Divorce IMAGE Illinois divorce lawyer This framework could have many different structures, and it should be considered with both your and your ex’s divorce lawyer at the time of divorce. One such framework “could include freezing the current 529 plan account (a tax-advantaged investment account used for higher education), splitting 529 plan accounts when needed and deciding what proportion each parent will pay toward their children’s education,” according to US News and World Report. This also ensures that neither ex will be able to have access to the 529 account because no more deposits are being made, meaning that the only person who will have access to the account is the designated child. “Freezing the account would also prevent a parent from using account funds to pay for the education of child from a new marriage,” according to US News and World Report. If it seems risky to leave the investment decisions up to only one parent—the account owner—after divorce, the other option is to have the judge split the existing account 50/50. A qualified family law attorney can assist this decision, and many others. If you or someone you know is considering divorce, don’t go through it alone. Contact a dedicated Illinois divorce lawyer today.

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