Legal Separation: Is It Right for You?
For some couples facing marital troubles, divorce as a solution is a last resort and legal separation is the first course of action. There are countless reasons you or your spouse might not be ready to call it quits just yet, and legal separation allows you time to assess the damage and decide whether or not divorce is the right choice.
How Is Legal Separation Different from Divorce?
Like divorce, legal separation is a legal action that officially deems you both separated in the eyes of the law. However, legal separation is a term and is not an actual divorce. According to the law, you are still married and may not marry other people. Your property and possessions are not divided up unless you ask the court to divide those things for you. The court can decide other things with a legal separation, such as child support, parenting time (visitation), and allocation of parental responsibilities (child custody).
To qualify for legal separation in Illinois, you must have been living in the state for at least 90 days, not be “at fault” for the separation, and must be physically living apart from your spouse. “At fault” is defined by many things, including adultery and abandonment. Filing for legal separation does not prevent you from filing for a divorce later on, should you decide to end the marriage entirely.
Legal Separation Can Be Beneficial
Many couples want to avoid divorce due to religious beliefs, the desire to maintain certain insurance benefits, or for other various financial reasons. Whatever your reason for hesitating to file for divorce, legal separation offers the time and space both you and your spouse need to think, work on conflict, and explore possible solutions, like pursuing counseling and a support group. Maintaining insurance benefits and keeping other routines in place while living apart can allow you to live comfortably and test out a separation at the same time.
Taking the Next Step
There is nothing easy about ending a marriage, and legal separation is not a shortcut or long-term solution. It can, however, make the process of ending a marriage more orderly, less tense, and run smoother over time. Working with an experienced Kane County family law attorney to file for legal separation can make a huge difference in the overall process. Call Shaw Family Law, P.C. at 630-584-5550 to get the support and assistance you need to get started today.