Tag Archives: legal separation

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.





Legal Separation in Illinois

Illinios divorce attorney, Illinois family law attorney, Illinois marriage laws,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.