I have recently separated from my wife. She is staying at the family home for now, and we have basically agreed on child support, and the distribution of certain belongings.
What would be your advice on how I should proceed with this situation legally in order to better protect myself. There is nothing in writing up to now, and no attorneys are involved. I want as much time with the kids as possible and don’t want to be overburdened with maintenance. What are the benefits/dangers of filing for divorce and taking the initiative to move this along?
You should consult experienced divorce attorneys, such as Cordell & Cordell, to review your situation and advise you as to the possible issues, strategies, and outcomes. While proceeding with a dissolution of marriage is a major decision, if you have determined that the marriage is irreparably broken, delays in proceeding with dissolving the marriage may result in unanticipated consequences. You and your wife continue to accrue assets and debts which may have to be divided in any divorce. Conduct during the period of separation may create issues as to liabilities to each other for misuse of funds or other property, referred to as dissipation. Your obligation for maintenance (support) of your wife may be influenced by any changes in her employability status prior to the entry of the divorce, such as disability, bankruptcy, or her incurring substantial debts.
While in certain cases delay may be warranted to vest benefits, clear up financial issues, prod your wife to obtain employment, or prepare the children for the dissolution, these situations are limited and proceeding with filing for divorce or presenting a proposed agreed divorce is generally recommended. The method by which the divorce is commenced may be structured to minimize confrontation or, by necessity, may require a more aggressive strategy to protect your financial and parental interests. Your attorney will review the options applicable to your situation.
Richard Coffee is a Litigation Manager in the Belleville Illinois office of Cordell & Cordell. He is an experienced divorce attorney whose practice is devoted to domestic litigation. He is licensed in the State of Illinois and is admitted to practice law in the U.S. District Courts for Northern, Central and Southern Illinois.
Mr. Coffee has extensive domestic litigation trial experience representing clients in courts throughout Illinois on all aspects of domestic litigation, including the representation of clients who are current or retired military personnel with issues under the Soldiers and Sailors Civil Relief Act and the Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act, clients involved in state court jurisdictional disputes due to the relocation of one or both parties from or to Illinois, and clients with government or private pension benefit valuation and division issues.