During the inevitably stressful time of going through a break up, it’s important to go through your options. To best determine what type of separation is best for you and your family, let’s first understand the difference between divorce and legal separation.
Divorce vs. Legal Separation
Your first thought may immediately go to divorce, and that is understandable due to it being the most common approach to seemingly irreconcilable differences. However, you have another option that is less permanent that is worth considering. There is a large difference between deciding to be physically separated from your spouse and legally separated from them.
A divorce means your marriage is 100% legally over, the court can assist in determining the allocation of parental responsibilities, parenting time, and child support. The court can also determine spousal support and divide property. Couples that have decided they can’t reconcile may be ready for an immediate divorce. However, even if you believe you will ultimately file for a divorce, a legal separation is worth to consider.
A legal separation is a less permanent option, meaning you’re living apart but still legally married. If you don’t think you can live with your spouse, you can file for legal separation. Obtaining a legal separation does not prevent you or your spouse from obtaining a divorce later. Legal separation is less emotionally taxing than divorce because the permanence of a divorce isn’t there which still allows for the legal relationship to exist between the married couple. The court can order a separation between you and your spouse, and it would include similar aspects to a divorce such as allocation of child support and custody arrangements.
When is a legal separation the better option?
Divorce may be the best option for you, it often is for many couples. However, there are some situations where a legal separation rather than divorcing straight away would make the most sense.
- You’re not sure if your partnership is ready for a divorce, you just need some separation
- Your religion doesn’t permit divorce
- Certain benefits are at risk such as health insurance, social security, and others
As much as you may feel differently now, most couples are capable of making a compromise or would agree to a specified time to attempt to reconcile their differences. For troubled marriages, a legal separation is a solution that is often overlooked, but proven very effective for many couples that give it a go. The separation may ultimately lead to a divorce, but at least you can rest assured that you did everything that you could to try to repair your marriage.
Additional common questions about legal separation in Illinois
– Can I still get a Legal separation if my spouse does not live in Illinois?
Yes, you can still get a legal separation granted by the court when your spouse doesn’t live in Illinois, or never has lived there. Something the court may potentially not be able to decide upon in this scenario is custody of children.
– Can custody be decided in a legal separation?
Yes, custody can be decided between the partners if the child has lived in Illinois for over 6 months.
– How long do you have to live in Illinois to file for a legal separation?
You have to be living in Illinois for at least 90 days.
– Where should you begin with this overwhelming decision?
Hiring an experienced legal advocate that is well-versed in family law will be the best option for you moving forward. They can help explain this process to you and is the greatest way to ensure the best possible outcome that is custom and unique to your family’s situation.
At Masters Law Group, we provide divorce and legal separation services and also represent clients involved in these matters. If you are looking to explore your options on divorce or legal separation with professional and experienced advisors, contact Masters Law Group to schedule an appointment here.