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What Is the Difference Between a Legal Separation and a Divorce?

Posted on in Divorce

Illinois divorce attorney, Illinois family lawyer, IL legal separation lawyerA couple experiencing issues may agree to separate for a period of time rather than make the decision permanent by filing for divorce. Although legal separation and divorce are two very different things, they both affect you, your spouse, and your future.

The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act - Legal Separation

According to Illinois law, any person living separate and apart from his or her spouse may have a remedy for reasonable support and maintenance while they so live apart. This is known as legal separation. Even though you and your spouse are separated, you are still married and can remain married until either of you see fit.

Couples file for separation for reasons such as:

  • You and/or your spouse object getting a divorce because of religious beliefs or moral reasons.
  • One spouse will become eligible for government benefits such as Social Security or Medicare.
  • There is a tax benefit if you and your spouse remain married.
  • You and your spouse think there is a chance you may reconsider after you have spent some time apart.
  • You are not eligible to file for a divorce because of the state's residency requirements or there is a waiting period.
  • You and/or your spouse find it less stressful and easier to file a legal separation agreement than to get a divorce.

A legal separation may seem like it would be the easiest thing to do in the event you believe you and your spouse will get back together at some point, but it can still deeply affect your finances, living situation, and legalities.

The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act - Divorce

Divorce happens when irreconcilable differences have caused the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage and the court determines that efforts at reconciliation have failed or that future attempts at reconciliation would be impracticable and not in the best interests of the family. Since the change to the law in 2016, Illinois is now a no-fault state, meaning neither spouse needs to prove the other has done anything wrong to file for divorce. Getting a divorce is a permanent decision and establishes that you are no longer one with your spouse.

Contact a DuPage County Family Law Attorney

Whether you are legally separating or filing for a divorce, do not neglect to hire an experienced Elmhurst divorce attorney. Here at Weiss-Kunz and Oliver, LLP, we will walk you through this difficult time from start to finish. Contact us at 312-605-4041 or fill out an online form.




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