Is Illinois Legal Separation the Same as Divorce?

 Posted on May 31, 2024 in Family Law

St. Charles legal separation attorneyLegal separations can be confusing because many people are not as familiar with legal separations as they are with divorce. In Illinois, legal separation is a separate legal process from divorce, and it is typically used by couples who wish to be separated but are not ready to fully end their marriage with a divorce.

An experienced Illinois legal separation lawyer can help you determine if this is the right choice for you.

What Is Legal Separation?

Legal separation is an agreement between two spouses that is court-approved and allows the couple to live separately both physically and financially while still legally being married. Many couples who choose a legal separation over divorce select this option to give themselves space from their spouse and to allow for personal growth and counseling.

With legal separation, there is generally a hope that reconciliation is possible and that the couple will not need to officially end their marriage with a divorce.

The most common reasons for seeking a legal separation in Illinois include:

  • Both spouses wish to take time off from the marriage and try out the reality of a divorce

  • Space is necessary for spouses to work out their differences, pursue counseling, or commit themselves to personal growth

  • The religion of either spouse prohibits divorce

  • One spouse wishes to retain benefits such as health insurance from the other spouse while still being separated

  • A couple wishes to divorce but needs to stay married for a certain length of time to qualify for specific government or state benefits

Legal Separation Versus Divorce

While both legal separation and divorce allow couples to separate and live apart, only a divorce officially finalizes the end of a marriage. However, the process for seeking a legal separation is similar to that of a divorce, and you will typically need to agree on important separation-related items with your spouse such as child custody, parental responsibilities, and property division before your legal separation is complete.

Unlike with a divorce, you cannot remarry while only legally separated, as you are technically still married to your spouse. Legal separations are also indefinite, whereas a divorce marks a final and definite end to your marriage.

Contact a St. Charles, IL Legal Separation Attorney

As you consider a legal separation, you must take your time with forming a legal separation agreement and ensure all legal requirements are completed correctly. Many times, if you choose to pursue a divorce, your legal separation will become the base of your divorce.

An experienced and compassionate Kane County, IL legal separation lawyer can help you work towards a favorable outcome with your legal separation agreement.

At Shaw Sanders, P.C., we have significant experience with family law and legal separation, and Attorney Matt Shaw is also a mediator, making us highly qualified to handle your case. Call 630-584-5550 for a free consultation.

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