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Couples Trying Semi-Separation Before DivorceSome couples who are considering divorce choose separation as an alternative. A legal separation involves many of the same financial and parenting provisions of divorce without dissolving a marriage. During the separation, spouses have time to consider whether they want to go through with a divorce. A full separation is still a legal process that involves creating a formal agreement that a court must approve. Instead, couples may try an in-house separation, which some call semi-separating. Spouses who semi-separate can behave as if they have separated without the obligations of a legal separation.

Forms of Semi-Separation

Spouses have several ways that they can live separately within the same residence. A court may recognize a couple as being legally separated while living together, as long as they make an effort to divide their finances and responsibilities. Semi-separating eases a couple into a more complete separation by starting with their social interaction. Semi-separation may occur in phases, such as:

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legal-separationFor many Illinois couples, a legal separation is the first step toward a divorce. It is a way to legally designate the end of a couple's relationship so any property acquired between that point and the couple's divorce is not considered to be marital property.

For other couples, a legal separation is a step to take to decide if divorce is right for them – a couple might know that their relationship is not healthy, but not know whether ending their marriage is the right step to take.

For others yet, legal separation is an attractive alternative to divorcing because although it severs the couple's relationship with each other, it does not sever their marriage and the benefits that accompany it.

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