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Legal Separation Vs. Divorce: Which Is the Best Option?

Posted on in Legal Separation

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.

Legal separation may be preferable for spouses who are still determining whether they want to end their marriage. In these cases, each spouse can begin establishing a separate home and lifestyle, while still maintaining the option to reconcile in the future. Since spouses will continue to be legally married, they will be able to maintain certain benefits, such as health insurance coverage, and they can avoid the stigma that comes with divorce. However, the spouses will still be in a legal partnership, which can make it more difficult to go their separate ways and move forward with their lives. If either spouse begins a relationship with a new partner, they will not be able to get married until they complete a divorce for their first marriage. Fortunately, since a legal separation agreement may cover many of the issues that would be addressed during the divorce process, couples may be able to convert their legal separation into a divorce fairly quickly and easily.

Contact Our Kane County Family Law Attorneys

If you need help determining whether legal separation or divorce is the right choice for your situation, or if you need to resolve legal issues as you separate from your partner, Goostree Law Group can advise you of the best steps to take. We will work to ensure that your rights will be protected in the agreements that you make, and we will advocate on your behalf in any disputes that you encounter. Contact our St. Charles legal separation lawyers at 630-584-4800 to set up your free consultation.


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