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Geneva legal separation attorneyMarried couples who are experiencing relationship issues have multiple legal options. For some couples, legally terminating their marriage through divorce may be the best solution for everyone involved. However, a couple may not be ready to take this irrevocable step, or they may wish to maintain certain benefits that come with being married. Legal separation may be an alternative option in these cases. When determining which approach to take, a couple will need to weigh the benefits and drawbacks of each option.

Pros and Cons of Divorce and Legal Separation

A divorce will dissolve a couple’s marriage, ending their legal partnership and allowing spouses to go their separate ways. While a legal separation will address many of the same issues as a divorce, a couple will continue to be legally married. The processes followed during divorce and legal separation are similar, and in both cases, a couple will need to reach agreements on issues such as the division of marital property, child custody, and spousal maintenance. If they cannot agree on certain issues, a family court judge may decide how these matters should be handled.

If a couple is looking for a complete split that will allow them both to move forward into the next chapter of their lives, divorce will likely be their best option. By ending their marriage, separating their finances, and making agreements about how issues related to children or financial support will be handled going forward, they can put their differences behind them and establish separate lives and households. However, divorce may not be the best option if a couple believes there may be a possibility of reconciliation, and some spouses may not wish to get divorced for religious or cultural reasons. Divorce will also eliminate some of the benefits of marriage, such as the ability for a person to be covered on a health insurance policy or receive other benefits through their spouse.

Posted on in Legal Separation

Kane County legal separation attorneyNo matter how mutual the decision may be to end a marriage, choosing to divorce is never an easy undertaking. Even the smoothest divorces mean big changes for both parties, and depending on financial circumstances and whether or not children are involved, those changes can have a ripple effect that impacts everyone in the household for some time to come. Divorce is just as much emotionally taxing as it is financially, compounding the burden for the entire family.

Given the potentially overwhelming nature of ending a marriage, it is understandable why some couples want to avoid the divorce process altogether. In fact, this is often a driving force behind legal separations, although a separation is often only a temporary solution and may not be an effective one for every couple. If you and your spouse want to delay the divorce for more practical reasons rather than emotional reasons, however, you may find that legal separation serves as a productive, beneficial option for both of you. 

Possible Advantages to Legal Separation in Illinois

The following three motivators often encourage couples to pursue separation as a stepping stone or alternative to divorce:

Why Some Couples Choose Legal Separation Over DivorceFiling for divorce is a serious and final decision to make about your marriage. Even when couples know that they are unhappy in their marriages, they may be unsure about whether they want to go as far as divorce. One alternative that couples in Illinois have is filing for legal separation. With a legal separation, you can act as if you are divorced without ending your marriage. If you decide you want to stay together, you can simply end the separation agreement. If you decide to end your marriage, you can file for divorce to make your separation permanent.

Why Should You Use Legal Separation?

Couples can separate from each other at any time without needing any official documents. However, they may lack legal protection when it comes to their individual property and parental rights. A separation agreement can work similarly to a divorce agreement, allowing you to settle on issues such as:

You may be able to continue certain benefits, such as health insurance, that would end if you divorced. If you cannot afford to move out on your own, you can still live in the same household while being legally separated. You would need to show that you no longer live together as a married couple, such as sleeping in individual rooms or separating your finances.

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:

Posted on in Legal Separation

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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