Category Archives: Legal Separation

When Should I Consider Legal Separation Instead of Divorce?

Wheaton family law attorney for legal separationIf you and your spouse are having relationship problems, but you are not ready to deal with the challenges and finality that come with a divorce, you might want to consider getting a legal separation. A legal separation can enable you to do many of the same things you can do through divorce, such as determining parental responsibilities, parenting time, temporary spousal support, and child support. However, you will remain legally married to your spouse, and this can provide a number of advantages.

6 Reasons to Get Separated Instead of Divorced

While divorce might seem like the most obvious option for a failing marriage, you may not wish to legally dissolve your marriage. You might choose to pursue a legal separation for one or more of the following reasons:

  1. Financial Concerns—There are many financial benefits to getting a legal separation from your spouse, including:

  • Continuing to intermingle your finances, ensuring that you both have more liquid assets available
  • Waiting long enough to meet the 10-year requirement that will allow one spouse to receive Social Security benefits based on the other spouse’s income and work history
  • Taking advantage of tax benefits by still being able to file joint tax returns as a married couple
  • Keeping military benefits
  1. Health Insurance—Insurance coverage can be one of the biggest expenses for a person. If getting a divorce might put one spouse’s health insurance at risk because they are included in their partner’s coverage, you might want to consider a separation. This will allow both spouses to remain on one spouse’s insurance plan while you are legally married.

  2. Difficult Living Arrangements—In some cases, spouses may still love each other and want to be committed to their family, but they are having trouble living together. A person may need more than a little “alone time;” sometimes, they want to have an entire home to themselves. A separation maintains the benefits and loyalty inherent in marriage without making living together an expectation or requirement.

  3. Staying Together for the Family—Many people think the “ugliness” of a divorce could scar a family unit. By getting legally separated, you and your spouse might be able to spare your children some of the adverse effects of divorce while maintaining a relationship as parents and ensuring your children’s needs will be met.

  4. Not Ready for Divorce—You may not be sure if divorce is the right choice for you and your spouse. A separation could help you test the waters and see if being away from one another is right for you or whether you want to attempt to save your marriage.

  5. Religion—Some religions make it difficult to get a divorce, or they may forbid divorce altogether. A legal separation may allow you to end your relationship with your spouse while avoiding any religious concerns that may come with divorce.

Contact a Wheaton Legal Separation Lawyer

Divorce is not your only option if you are struggling in your marriage. You might want to consider getting a legal separation. The knowledgeable lawyers at Andrew Cores Family Law Group will discuss your options with you and help you figure out the best course of action for your particular circumstances. Call a DuPage County family law attorney at 630-871-1002 for a free consultation.


An Alternative to Divorce: Legal Separation

DuPage County separation attorneyDivorce is a huge decision and step in a person’s life. Once a divorce is granted, a couple’s marriage is over, and it brings significant changes to finances, child custody, and living arrangements. Every relationship faces challenges at some point, and needing a break to assess whether the marriage can work is not uncommon. Some spouses may not be ready to file for divorce, but still need some structure for parenting issues, property rights, and financial support.

One option at this juncture is a legal separation. While it can ultimately lead to divorce, that outcome does not always occur. Couples who enter into legal separation agreements are still legally married and cannot remarry or finalize certain aspects of dissolving the marriage without seeking a divorce. In other words, legal separation is revocable, whereas divorce is not once granted.

Breakdown of Legal Separation

Legal separation is a court-approved action that recognizes and formalizes the physical and financial separation of a couple as they consider reconciling or getting divorced. It differs from physical separation, in which a couple simply agrees to live apart, by creating an enforceable agreement binding the spouses to certain terms related to parenting, child support, alimony, and property division. In order to qualify for this legal remedy, at least one spouse must have resided in Illinois for at least 90 days and the couple must be living apart. This procedure is still available even if one spouse does not presently live in Illinois, but if he/she never lived in the state, the court will not be able to settle issues of child support and maintenance. Additionally, in order for the court to have authority to order a parenting plan, the child must have lived in Illinois for at least six months. Further, the parties must agree on the division of marital assets and debts for it to be included in the court’s order. Otherwise, this issue will remain open and unsettled. Another important point to understand is that any award for spousal maintenance will be revisited if a divorce case is later filed, with no impact from the earlier award on the divorce proceeding. Only in instances where a couple agreed to non-modifiable alimony would this treatment not be applied.

Legal Separation vs. Divorce

As noted, legal separation does not end a marriage, and thus, gives the couple time to reconcile in a controlled manner. If divorce does come, the legal separation agreement that governed the time the couple lived apart while married could be used to form the basis of the final divorce settlement. As a result, many of the complicated issues of divorce would already be settled, meaning less expense, time, and stress. This may provide the alternative a couple needs to repair their marriage, or at least give them the ability to say they tried everything to save the relationship.

Seek Legal Advice from a Wheaton, IL Divorce Attorney

Admitting there are problems in your marriage is not easy, and sometimes, taking time away from one another is necessary to gain clarity on whether to stay together or get divorced. If you are contemplating a legal separation, talk to an experienced divorce attorney today. The dedicated DuPage County divorce lawyers at the Andrew Cores Family Law Group know how to structure a legal separation so it both supports you during this time and streamlines divorce if that choice is ultimately made. Contact us at 630-518-4002 for a free consultation.


The Differences Between Legal Separation and Living Separate and Apart

separation, DuPage County family law attorneyHave you recently filled out an application that asked about your marital status? Do you remember what the some of the checkbox options were? Most such questions include answers like “single,” “married,” and “divorced,” but some have additional options such as “single, never married” and “widowed.” Perhaps the least common is an option for “separated.” Depending on the purpose of the application or question, the precise definition of “separated” may not be all that important, but if you are in the process of getting divorced, it is important to know what the law in Illinois says about separations.

Two Different Meanings

The word “separation” is generally used in two very different ways in the context of divorce. The first is rather casual and is often used by the spouses themselves to describe their situation while their marriage is coming to an end. For example, if your spouse recently moved out, you might tell your friends that you and your spouse are separated. This type of separation, however, is not considered a “legal separation.” Instead, it is considered a period of living separate and apart.

A legal separation, by comparison, is a relationship status that is determined by court order—similar in some ways to a judgment of divorce. In fact, to obtain a legal separation, a couple must go through many of the same considerations that they would during a divorce. Arrangements must be made for any minor children, spousal maintenance may be considered, and if agreed upon by the spouses, marital property may be divided. The spouses remain married to one another, however. Legal separations are not particularly common, but they may be appropriate for those whose religious or personal beliefs prevent them from seeking a divorce. A legal separation may also be suitable when divorce proceedings are expected to drag on for months or years.

Does Divorce Require Legal Separation?

A couple that is legally separated has three options. They can remain legally separated until one spouse dies, they can petition the court to set the separation order aside, or they can pursue a divorce.

Under Illinois law, there is no requirement for a couple to obtain a legal separation before pursuing a divorce. In fact, a couple is not even required to live separate and apart before getting divorced. If, however, the spouses do not agree that the marriage has broken down beyond repair, a six-month period of living separate and apart will be accepted by the court as irrefutable proof of irreconcilable differences.

Call Us for Help

If you are considering a divorce in Illinois and have questions about the two types of separation, an experienced Wheaton divorce attorney can help you find the answers. Call 630-871-1002 to schedule a free consultation at the Andrew Cores Family Law Group today.