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Legal Separation Basics

Posted on in Family Law

DuPage County divorce attorneys, legal separationLegal separation is a process that few people pursue, but it can be important for couples considering divorce to understand. Legal separation is not the same thing as just living apart. Most couples divorcing in Illinois will not be legally separated at any time, but there are some circumstances where legal separation is the best option. Below are some of the basics of legal separation; however, you will want to speak with an attorney to find out whether legal separation is right for you.

So are We Still Married?

When a couple is legally separated they are still married. Therefore, spouses cannot marry anyone else and there is not a divorce decree. However, legally separated couples can ask for child and spousal support from each other, but the marital property itself will not be divided.

What are the Requirements for Legal Separation?

In order to be legally separated you need to live apart from your spouse, file paperwork, and ask the judge to approve the legal separation. The person asking for legal separation must not be at fault for causing the separation. Legal separation is a legal status and you are not legally separated unless the judge specifically grants you that status.

Do I Need to get Legally Separated?

The majority of people have no reason to get legally separated. With the divorce period in Illinois lowered to six months, most couples will go right from married to divorced. However, you may decide to get legally separated due to the following: 

  • Abandonment – If you leave the marital home for a year or more you will be considered as abandoning it. However, if you are legally separated then you will not be considered as having abandoned your spouse;

  • Support – If you need to ask your spouse for spousal or child support, but are not ready to get a divorce, a legal separation may be the way to go. During a legal separation you can ask the judge to force the other party to pay this support;

  • Parenting time – What used to be called custody and visitation is now called parenting time. Either way, legal separation can allow the judge to make these decisions if you are not ready for divorce; and

  • To stop the clock on shared assets – As discussed above, the judge will not separate marital assets with a legal separation; that will only happen with a divorce. However, once you have a legal separation any money earned will be considered separate property and therefore the other spouse will not be entitled to it.

DuPage County Divorce Attorneys

Whether you are just starting to think about divorce or have already separated, you should speak with a skilled divorce attorney to help you navigate this difficult and emotional process. Our compassionate DuPage County divorce attorneys at Davi Law Group, LLC can help you every step of the way.




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