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Can I Get a Legal Separation Instead of a Divorce?
16 Jul, 2024

Can I Get a Legal Separation Instead of a Divorce?

Though legal separation and divorce sound like synonymous terms, they are actually quite different. Illinois law permits both legal separation and divorce for couples and will grant either one depending on the legal proceedings that occur prior. If you have questions about the differences between legal separation and divorce or are trying to determine which is right for you, our team at SLG Family Law is here to help. 

What Is the Difference Between Legal Separation And Divorce?

In Illinois, legal separation allows couples to live separately from one another. The court will approve the couple to live away from one another, without terminating the marriage. However, neither spouse is permitted to remarry without proceeding with a proper divorce. The court will declare that the couple is officially separated, and they will not be permitted to live in the same residence. Unlike a divorce, a legal separation can be modified to meet the needs of each spouse. 

What are the Similarities Between Legal Separation and Divorce?

Legal separation and divorce both involve splitting certain aspects of the couple’s relationships. For example, both cases address who is required to pay child support if applicable and determines any debts and alimony that are to be paid. A legal separation can also entitle an individual to certain benefits from the relationship, such as pensions tied to either spouse. Additionally, they both begin with one spouse filing a request for court intervention. Though the divorce process is much longer, both cases will proceed in court. Legal separation does not resolve all issues that may be present like a divorce does. For example, a legal separation might not allocate who receives certain property like the home and any vehicles. Both cases allow for individuals to discuss any issues that they have within the relationship and make any necessary changes. 

How Do I Know if a Legal Separation Is Right for Me?

Whether an individual decides to file for legal separation or divorce is up to them. An attorney can help provide vital information about the proper steps to each type of filing and help guide you as you navigate which one is right for you. There are many reasons why an individual may want to pursue a legal separation. Oftentimes, a couple may choose to file for legal separation instead of filing for divorce in an effort to reconcile the relationship. Some couples may choose it because a divorce goes against their personal belief systems. Additionally, many couples acknowledge that divorce can be costly and time-consuming and aren’t sure if that’s what’s best for their marriage. While a legal separation can be overturned, a divorce is finalized. For couples who believe they can work things out, a legal separation might be best for them. 

Contact Our Trusted Team Today 

If you are considering filing for a legal separation, contact our expert attorneys today. We look forward to speaking with you about the terms of a legal separation. 



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