When Separated, What Is My Best Strategy For Divorce?


My wife and I have been separated for five months now. She is fine with the way things are and doesn’t want to get divorced. But she has moved in with her boyfriend, leaving me and the kids in the house. I am moving on with my life.

I want to take advantage of the fact that she is stupid in love with the guy she had an affair with. I would imagine at some point she will realize that she really does want a divorce. How can I get what I want from the divorce: my kids, the house, my assets?  I want to beat her to the punch while she’s in a romantic stupor.



Since you have been flying solo with the kids for five months, you should have a sufficient track regard to show a court that you are the primary caregiver when filing for divorce.  The recent history should be sufficient to obtain temporary custody of your children and possession of the house pending the divorce.  Whether you can maintain this position through the end of the process will depend on many factors including the judge, your lawyer, and your wife’s version of the circumstances.

Your wife’s current distraction may lead her to agree to a quick divorce on your preferred terms to allow her to focus on her social life.  However, she may react strongly to you asserting your goals and either terminate her relationship or decide she needs to “reclaim” the role of primary caregiver to show friends and family that she has not abandoned her children.

While you have control of the situation, you should retain an experience, qualified family law attorney to start preparing the strategy for your case, advising you on handling your assets and debts in preparation for the divorce, reviewing any tax implications of the divorce, and drafting a complete settlement package that she need only sign to be divorced.  Depending upon your situation, there may be information that needs to be assembled, joint accounts severed or closed, or other financial steps taken to assure that you get a fair resolution in the divorce.



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.

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