Although partners may always choose to live apart without legally separating, the formal arrangement of legal separation has its advantages for spouses looking to protect their best interests when a divorce is imminent. Not only does official legal separation help define lifestyle and financial boundaries for a separating couple, it also gives the couple space to spend some time apart and consider whether or not divorce is the best solution.
If you or your spouse are not yet committed to filing for divorce, legal separation is a temporary, alternative avenue that allows you to explore your options and set the parameters for your split. To file for legal separation in Illinois, you will need to keep the following requirements in mind:
- You and your spouse must be separated and already living apart when the court action is initiated;
- If you are the one seeking the legal separation, you must provide a statement that you are not the one at fault for the separation;
- You may not marry anyone else during a legal separation until the dissolution or marriage or divorce is resolved and final;
- You may not claim any rights to property or possessions at a later divorce hearing, after the date of the judgment of legal separation has passed; and
- To begin the legal separation procedure, you must start by filing a petition with the Clerk of the Circuit Court
Once you file the petition with the Clerk of the Circuit Court and declare that you are not at fault for the separation, you are required to wait for a sheriff’s deputy to deliver a summons to your spouse. Your spouse will then have the opportunity to respond and at that point, the case is brought before a judge. The judge will decide whether or not all issues between you can be resolved, and if so, help set the groundwork for your agreements.
Acquainting yourself with the general requirements for a legal separation is the first step in filing and beginning the process. Should you have more questions as you consider legal separation, you can benefit from having an experienced, professional Kane County family law attorney by your side to help direct and guide you to ensure your case is handled both thoroughly and efficiently. Call Shaw Family Law, P.C. at 630-584-5550 today for a free consultation.