Legal separation from a spouse is a legal term that refers to spouses who choose to place their relationship on pause. Separating from your partner does not mean that your marriage is over. Often, spouses will decide to separate to maintain their marriage but place some distance between each other to work through marital issues. Other times, religious or cultural beliefs prohibit a divorce, so separation is the best option. A legal separation will require spouses to follow a few key steps to ensure both partners receive equal treatment regardless of a couple’s reasons behind separating.
Divorce Versus Separation — The Difference
Filing for and completing the divorce process includes dissolving the marriage and ending the relationship entirely. Separation does not end the marriage. There are a few main differences between how the court handles divorce and separation. In a divorce, the court may divide shared marital assets if the spouses cannot reach an agreement. There is no division of shared assets during a separation unless both partners explicitly ask the court to do so and agree to property division terms.
Often, this is a significant reason why spouses choose to separate rather than divorce. Legal separation allows the couple to keep shared financial interests such as retirement plans, health insurance, or family businesses intact.
Spouses will, however, have to make other important decisions regarding the family’s interests, similar to a divorce. During separation, spouses who live apart will:
Determine if spousal support is necessary
Choose who will remain in the family home
Allocate parenting time and division of parental responsibilities
How to Legally Separate in Illinois
If you choose to legally separate from your partner in Illinois, both of the spouses must have been living in the state for at least 90 days. Couples will have to file a petition to separate through an Illinois circuit court called the Petition for Legal Separation. With the help of a skilled divorce and family attorney in your area, partners can begin to file the paperwork and prepare documents that detail financial statements and other shared interests. This information will become extremely vital when determining if there needs to be spousal support given during separation.
Separation Lawyers in Will County, Illinois
As you prepare to separate from your partner in Illinois, it is in your best interest to utilize the skills of an experienced family attorney who can walk you through the process of legal separation. At [[title]], our Will County divorce attorneys have years of collective experience working alongside Illinois couples in separation and divorce. We offer a free consultation with our office to begin understanding the details of your relationship and help guide you in the right direction. Please feel free to contact us at [[phone]].