Call Us630-871-2400

Wheaton Legal Separation Lawyer

Understanding Legal Separation

In some cases, couples in Illinois may opt for legal separation as an alternative to divorce. This may be an option that is available for couples who wish to live separate lives but who may not be ready to take the final and irrevocable step of ending their marriage legally. While legal separation may not be the best choice for all couples, it can be a solid option for some couples who are experiencing challenging circumstances. In a legal separation, a couple will usually live in separate homes, and court-ordered terms may be put in place regarding financial obligations and child custody. However, unlike a divorce, the couple will remain legally married. If you are interested in learning more about legal separation or are looking to begin the process, an attorney can provide guidance and help you understand your rights and options.

At Fawell & Fawell, we understand that many couples who are struggling in their marriages may not be ready to divorce for various reasons. If you are in this situation, we can assist you in resolving issues related to your separation, and we can ensure that the proper court orders will be put in place to protect your interests. With our comprehensive and compassionate legal services, we can make sure you will be able to separate from your spouse successfully.

Understanding the Differences Between Legal Separation and Divorce

Legal separation and divorce are two separate legal procedures in Illinois, although they will follow similar procedures. In a legal separation, a court order known as a separation agreement will be put in place that will detail how various issues will be handled, but a couple will maintain their legal status as married spouses. For example, spouses who are legally separated will remain married, but their separation agreement may detail how their assets and debts will be divided, and it may specify how child custody and parenting time will be handled. A couple who are legally separated may live independently, file taxes separately, and manage their own finances, but because they are still legally married, they will have inheritance rights and be able to maintain shared benefits such as health insurance or life insurance coverage. In contrast, divorce thoroughly terminates all aspects of marriage. As a result, divorced individuals can no longer share insurance benefits, have the right to receive inheritances, and enjoy other benefits afforded to married spouses.

Is Living Separately the Same as a Legal Separation?

Legal separation and not living with your spouse are two different things in Illinois. Legal separation involves obtaining a court order that defines the rights and obligations of each spouse while they are living apart. This can include issues related to property division, spousal support, child custody, and child support.

On the other hand, simply living separately from your spouse does not put any legal requirements in place. A couple may choose to live apart for personal or practical reasons, but until court orders are put in place, they will not necessarily have any obligations that they will need to meet. Because of this, it is beneficial for a couple who plans to live separately to take steps to put a separation agreement in place.

It is also important to understand that a legal separation does not require spouses to live in separate homes. Couples may choose to obtain a legal separation while still living in the same house, and they may do so because they do not want to interrupt their children's lives or because neither spouse has the financial ability to live separately. However, they will still be required to follow all terms put in place by the court during their legal separation.

Additional Considerations for Legal Separation

There are other reasons someone might choose a legal separation instead of a divorce. For example, many couples choose to pursue a trial separation to give themselves some space and determine whether they can work through their issues and reconcile. If they can successfully reconcile, they can terminate the legal separation and resume their marriage without going through the divorce process. Couples may also choose to legally separate in order to maintain the benefits of being married or because religious or cultural practices discourage them from getting a divorce.

At any time following a legal separation, either spouse will be able to file for divorce and take steps to legally dissolve their marriage. This may be necessary if a person begins a new romantic relationship, since they will need to terminate their existing marriage before they can get married to another partner.

Contact a DuPage County Legal Separation Attorney

If your marriage is going through a rough patch, but you do not want to divorce, pursuing a legal separation may be right for you. At Fawell & Fawell, we understand how difficult of a time this may be for you. Our deep knowledge of family law makes our firm qualified to assist you in pursuing your legal objectives. For more information, call us at 630-871-2400 or contact us online for a free consultation.

badge badge badge badge
Back to Top