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Separation Can Provide Legal Protections Without Ending Your Marriage

Posted on in Family Law

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Divorce terminates a marriage. Once a couple is divorced, they are free to marry others. There is no reversing a divorce. Legal separation does not end a marriage, but it can provide important legal protections to spouses who have stopped living together.

Illinois law allows couples to separate and address many of the same issues that they would address during divorce while still remaining married. Legal separation is much less common than divorce, however, it may be preferred over divorce in some situations.   

Why Would You Want to Get Separated Instead of Divorced?

When a couple is legally separated, they are still technically married. However, they do not live together, share finances, or conduct themselves as a married couple. There are many reasons that some choose legal separation instead of divorce including:

  • Religious or personal beliefs – For some, divorce violates their religious beliefs or personal values. Legal separation is a good option for people who want to separate from their spouse without actually getting divorced.

  • Trial separation – Legal separation is sometimes used as a “trial run” for divorce. The couple may hope that a period apart from each other will give them time to work on their own issues so they can repair the marriage. If the couple reconciles, they can cancel the separation. If they decide to end the marriage, they will already have addressed many of the issues that need to be addressed during divorce.

  • Maintaining health insurance – Health insurance is crucial – especially if an individual has considerable health concerns. Some people choose legal separation instead of divorce so they can stay on their spouse’s health insurance plan.  

  • Financial benefits – There are many financial benefits associated with marriage. If you want to continue receiving tax benefits, military benefits, or access to your spouses’ social security benefits, you may want to stay married.

How to Get a Legal Separation in Illinois

Legal separation does not simply mean living separately. To get a legal separation, you will file a Petition for Legal Separation with your local Circuit Clerk. Next, you will address the same issues that you would need to address during divorce, including child custody, spousal maintenance, and child support. One major difference between legal separation and divorce in Illinois is that Illinois courts do not divide marital assets and debts during a separation unless the spouses agree on property division.  

Contact a Wheaton Divorce Lawyer

If you are unsure of whether legal separation or divorce is right for your situation, contact a DuPage County family law attorney from Davi Law Group for help. We can help you understand the advantages and disadvantages of both options and pursue the option that makes the most sense for your unique circumstances. Call us today at 630-657-5052 for a free consultation.





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