IL divorce lawyerPreparing to end your marriage is a serious decision that requires careful planning and analysis. Some couples who are unsure whether the relationship is completely over consider a temporary legal separation, rather than ending the relationship with a divorce. Before you make up your mind, it is essential to understand how legal separation and divorce differ in Illinois, as well as the potential benefits and drawbacks of both.


The most important difference between divorce and legal separation is that divorce is final, while legal separation is not. Once a couple is divorced, each partner is free to get married again. For couples who are certain that their relationship has dissolved beyond the possibility of recovery, divorce is likely the best option.

During their divorce, couples must divide financial assets and debts, and resolve important issues like child support and parenting time. This is also true of legal separation, but the divorce process also provides the option of freezing assets due to a partner’s dissipative behavior or other financial risks.


DuPage County legal separation lawyerAlthough many couples are sure of their decision to end their marriage and go their separate ways, there are others that may not be quite so certain. Alternatively, there may be extenuating circumstances, such as religious beliefs or financial concerns, that can either rule out or complicate the traditional divorce process. If you are wondering whether legal separation may be a viable alternative in your situation, a qualified family lawyer can help you explore this question further and provide you with some details that could assist you with your decision.

Legal Separation vs. Divorce

Some think that separation is like divorce. Others assume that it is the first step to divorce. Both beliefs may have an element of truth to them depending on the situation, but neither tells the whole story. Unlike divorce, legal separation does not break the legal marital bond. The spouses remain married, so neither party can remarry without a full, legal divorce. Separated spouses can pursue maintenance and child support, however, and they can seek a determination on the allocation of parental responsibilities and parenting time for any shared children. Additionally, legal separation is not a required step before divorce, nor does it always lead to divorce.

Why Choose Separation?

Since legal separation and divorce are different legal paths, and legal separation is not necessary for divorce, some may be confused as to the purpose of seeking a separation. Again, legal separation allows each party the ability to pursue certain forms of support, but it can do much more than just this. It can also give couples the space they need to work through their differences so they can reunite without ever having breached their marriage vows. Alternatively, legal separation can give spouses the time they need to decide if divorce may be the next step for them. It may also be used as an alternative to divorce if either party is strongly opposed to divorce, whether because of religious or moral values.


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