There is more than one way for Illinois couples to effectively end their marriages. The most common method by far is divorce. When a couple gets a divorce, they go through the legal process of ending their marriage by dividing their property and arranging for their children’s care and support. For some couples, an annulment is an option. If the couple can prove that their marriage is not valid, an annulment can quickly render their marriage void. Reasons for an annulment include one partner was too young to consent to marriage at the time of their wedding or one partner was married to another individual when the couple married. The final option is legal separation.
Legal separation is not the same as the type of separation that often precedes a divorce. This type of separation is discussed in the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act. With a legal separation, the couple must file paperwork and submit it to the court as if they were going through the divorce process. They then go before a judge to have their case heard and settled, which may include the same provisions as a divorce, such as child custody arrangement, child support, spousal maintenance, and property division. Essentially, a legal separation is almost identical to a divorce. The only difference between a legal separation and a divorce is that a legally separated individual can not remarry unless he or she opts to get a divorce.
Why Would a Couple Choose a Legal Separation Instead of a Divorce?
There are a few reasons why Illinois couples take this route instead of a divorce. For some, a legal separation is actually the first stage of the divorce process. This is because it is possible to save a lot of money by legally separating prior to divorcing. The couple can work out their property valuation and division before other issues enter the picture this way. They can also enjoy certain tax advantages.
Another reason why a couple might opt to separate rather than divorce is religion. In many religions, divorce is forbidden. When a couple cannot work out their differences and wants to end their relationship, but also do not want to go against the teachings of their religion, they may opt for a legal separation.
Couples who have conflicts in their marriage but are not sure if they truly want to divorce may also choose legal separation. With this option, each partner can take time to see what life is like without the other, without the finality of actually ending their marriage. Some couples take this time apart to attend therapy sessions or work on the destructive behaviors that caused their marital conflict, such as addiction or anger management problems.
Divorce Attorneys in DuPage County
Whether you decide to end your marriage through a divorce or a legal separation, contact an experienced DuPage County family law attorney to discuss the repercussions of either choice as well as your rights throughout either process. Our team of attorneys is equipped to provide you with the top-quality legal counsel and representation your case deserves.