Although people often use them interchangeably, divorce and legal separation are actually two different legal procedures. Each has its own set of advantages and disadvantages, and one does not need or rely upon the other. In fact, many couples legally separate and never divorce, and others divorce without ever going through a legal separation. Still not sure which is right for you? Start with the following information, which explains the differences, benefits, and drawbacks of both divorce and legal separation.
Divorce in Illinois
Divorce – or the dissolution of a marriage – is a legal process used to end (dissolve) a marriage. Parties equitably split their assets, determine allocation of parental responsibilities, parenting time, alimony, and/or child support, and they may remarry any time after the process is over. You do not have to live apart prior to filing, nor do you have to file for a legal separation before filing for divorce. However, you must fully understand that, once complete, the marriage is over. For some, this is too big of a step, and they may choose legal separation instead.
Legal Separation in Illinois
Unlike divorce, legal separation does not actually end a marriage. Instead, it gives a spouse a legal avenue through which they can seek a judgment for the allocation of parental responsibilities, parenting time, alimony, and/or child support. It also places a marker in time, separating what would be considered marital assets and what would be considered non-marital assets, should the couple eventually decide to move forward with a divorce. Just keep in mind that legal separation does not necessarily save you time or money, once you do decide to move forward with the divorce process.
Of course, you do not have to divorce after a legal separation. In fact, many choose not to – some for religious reasons, or because they fear a violent spouse. Still others simply never feel it is necessary once the separation process is complete. It is an option, however - one that some may wish to pursue due to a desire to remarry, or simply because they have decided that it is finally time to officially end their marriage. Whatever you decide, our attorneys will be there to guide you.
Choosing the Right Option for Your Situation
It can be difficult to determine whether you should file for legal separation, or if you should simply move forward and completely dissolve your marriage. Mevorah & Giglio Law Offices can help. Dedicated to your future and your best interest, our DuPage County divorce attorneys provide you with skilled guidance to ensure you have the knowledge and power to effectively weigh your options. Once you have determined which option is most appropriate for your situation, we walk you through the entire process, step by step, serving as a trusted advocate in your divorce or legal separation case. To discuss your case, call us at 630-932-9100 and schedule your free initial consultation today.
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