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Northbrook Family Law Attorney & Criminal Defense Lawyer Answers Frequently Asked Questions about Illinois Divorce, DUI and More

If you’re thinking about divorce or have been served with a divorce petition by your spouse, or if you’ve been charged with DUI or other crimes or offenses, you likely have a lot of questions about the process you will be going through, the decisions you’ll have to make, and the consequences these matters will have on your life. Attorney Alan Pearlman has helped countless people like you and will be with you every step of the way to let you know what to expect and guide you to a successful outcome. Below are answers to some frequently asked questions about Illinois divorce and DUI law. For other questions or immediate help with your Chicagoland legal situation, call Alan Pearlman, Ltd. in Northbrook to speak with a knowledgeable and experienced Illinois lawyer.

Q. How is legal separation different from divorce?

A. A divorce legally dissolves the marriage and leaves each party free to marry another. With a legal separation, you are still legally married and cannot marry someone else, but you can still get court orders for matters such as child support, child custody/visitation, and alimony (maintenance). If you are ready to divorce but do not yet meet the Illinois residency requirements, a legal separation can be a good first step. Separation is also helpful to establish boundaries while you are taking time apart but may yet consider reconciliation, or if divorce is not feasible due to religious, economic or other reasons.

Q. Should I get an annulment instead of a divorce?

A. An annulment is only available to end a marriage that was never legal to begin with. Known in Illinois as a Declaration of Invalidity of Marriage, grounds for annulment include if one of the spouses was underage without parental consent at the time of marriage, was still married to another person, was tricked or forced into the marriage, lacked the capacity to consent to marriage (due for instance to intellectual disability or intoxication), or if the marriage cannot be consummated. A divorce is required to dissolve a valid marriage.

Q. Can a parent with custody relocate out of state with the child?

A. A custodial parent should not relocate out of state with the child without first getting the court’s approval and could in fact be charged with kidnapping or other crimes for relocating without approval. The parent will need to prove to the judge that the move is in the best interests of the child, considering factors such as the reason for the move and how the relocation would affect the visitation rights of the noncustodial parent. Illinois even has very specific and complex rules regarding a relocation in-state, depending on how far the move and what county the child’s primary residence is in. It’s best to talk to an experienced Illinois child custody lawyer before making any move to ensure you don’t damage your important child custody rights.

Q. What is the “legal limit” for driving under the influence (DUI) in Illinois?

A. Like in other states, the legal limit is .08% blood alcohol content or BAC. A person whose BAC tests at .08% or higher can be arrested for DUI. Also, an Illinois driver can be arrested for DUI with a BAC as low as .05%, if the police have other evidence to show the person’s driving was impaired by alcohol. Call an attorney as soon as possible after a Chicago DUI arrest, as you may have one or more defenses to the charges against you.

Q. What happens if I refuse to take a breath test?

A. Illinois law requires you to submit to a chemical test of your blood or breath alcohol when ordered by police. Refusal to test brings a 12-month suspension of your driver’s license, or a three-year suspension if you have a previous DUI conviction. In contrast, if you are convicted of DUI, your driver’s license would be suspended for six months on a first offense or one year for a subsequent offense. This law applies to a chemical test of your breath or blood and not a “field sobriety test,” such as being required to follow a pen with your eyes without moving your head or to touch your finger to your nose with your head tilted back and your eyes closed. Your license will not be suspended for refusing to take a field test, although you still may find yourself arrested and the fact of your refusal used against you in court.

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