Getting a divorce is a major, irreversible decision that affects nearly every aspect of a person’s life. That said, some individuals and couples are confident that a divorce is the best option to free themselves from a failed marriage and make it possible to move forward with their lives. However, if you are not so sure that divorce is the right choice, you do have another option in Illinois in the form of legal separation.
What Happens in an Illinois Legal Separation?
In order for a legal separation to begin, you and your spouse must be living separately, and one or both of you must submit a petition to the court. As part of the judgment for legal separation, you and your spouse may need to reach an agreement on many of the same issues addressed in a divorce resolution, including spousal maintenance in a case of financial need, as well as child support and parental responsibilities if you and your spouse have minor children together. You can also choose to begin the process of allocating marital property, and in general, any new property that you or your spouse acquires after the judgment of legal separation will be considered non-marital.
Throughout the separation, you and your spouse will remain legally married, leaving open the opportunity to end the separation and reconcile. However, either of you can also choose to file for divorce at any point during the legal separation. This is a necessary step if either of you wishes to legally marry a new partner....