Legal Separation in Illinois

Divorce is a permanent end to a marriage. Once a couple goes through a divorce the only way they can be married again if they reconcile is by entering into a whole new marriage. In a divorce, a court determines child custody and support, determines whether spousal maintenance is appropriate, and divides a couple’s property.

While divorce is the right step for some couples, others may not be sure if divorce is right for them. Other couples may be unsure if divorce is appropriate, but may be in favor of at least some sort of temporary split. In these cases, couples may want to consider a legal separation.

What is a Legal Separation?

Unlike divorce, a legal separation is not an end to a marriage in Illinois. Instead it is a tool that can be used by couples who are living separately but who have not committed to a divorce, or who do want a divorce but understand that the divorce proceedings in their situation will be lengthy. If child custody issues are contentious, this can be a faster way to hash out a temporary custody agreement rather than waiting for a divorce to be final.

Legal separation allows a court to make decisions about child custody, child support, and maintenance without having to end a marriage. A standard legal separation will not involve a division of property. However, if a couple requests a division of property as part of a legal separation proceeding, it may be done. Additionally, if a couple is legally separated, property they each obtain after the separation may not be treated as marital property, whereas without the legal separation it would be considered marital property.

What is Required to Obtain a Legal Separation?

The key to obtaining a legal separation is that a couple must actually separate. Hence, they must live physically apart. To obtain a legal separation in Illinois you must live in Illinois for at least 90 days. If you live in Illinois but your spouse lives in a different state, this may impact your ability to have the court determine child custody matters. The person seeking the legal separation will have to file paperwork with the correct court, serve their spouse with that paperwork, and go through a hearing. This process can be confusing, so it is important to obtain the help of an attorney as early as possible in the process.

Call Sullivan Taylor, Gumina & Palmer, P.C.

If you are considering a legal separation or divorce, you will want the assistance of experienced Illinois family law lawyers. Call Sullivan Taylor, Gumina & Palmer, P.C. at (630) 756-5112. We will help you protect your interests and obtain a fair resolution to your disputes. Reach out to us today for assistance.