The Law Office of Matthew M. Williams, P.C.


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Is Legal Separation Better Than Divorce in Illinois?

 Posted on May 06,2024 in Legal Separation

Aurora, IL legal separation attorneyLegal separation in Illinois is similar to divorce in some ways, but it does not end the marriage. Couples who choose to get legally separated rather than divorced may do so because:

  • They want to give divorce a trial run.

  • They hope to reconcile.

  • They want to remain married for religious reasons.

  • They want to retain certain benefits.

Choosing to become legally separated has certain consequences. An Illinois family lawyer can help you decide whether a legal separation or divorce might be best for you and your spouse.

What is Legal Separation?

Legal separation is an option th, at Illinois law gives married couples who do not want to live together but also do not want to end the marriage. Like with divorce, a couple who gets legally separated must address certain issues such as:

  • Who retains the majority of parenting time, or physical custody

  • Allocation of parental responsibilities 

  • Who should pay spousal support and for what amount

  • Who should pay child support

  • How assets should be divided between the spouses

For a couple to be legally separated, the law requires that they live “separate and apart.” This means that a couple should be living separately before filing a petition with a court, although under certain circumstances, even couples who are still living together can get a legal separation.

How is Legal Separation Different from Divorce?

One of the main differences between legal separation and divorce is that spouses who are legally separated cannot remarry. To remarry, the couple must first divorce. This can make entering a new relationship complicated for both sides. 

Other differences between legal separation and divorce include:

  • Spouses who are legally separated can still share health insurance.

  • Spouses who are legally separated can still enjoy military benefits, if applicable.

  • Legal separation can be harder for children to understand.

  • Legal separation is usually a temporary arrangement, unlike divorce.

How Can I Legally Separate From My Spouse in Illinois?

To legally separate from your spouse, you must file a Petition for Separation with a court. The court should be located in the county in which your spouse lives or the county in which you both last lived as husband and wife. If you cannot locate your spouse, you must file the petition with a court in your county.

After you file the petition, a copy will be served to your spouse. He or she will be given a certain amount of time to respond.

Once issues such as child custody, spousal support, and child support are addressed, the court will issue a judgment of legal separation.

Contact an Aurora, IL Legal Separation Attorney

Although a marriage remains valid even after a couple becomes legally separated, a legal separation still involves a strict legal process. Part of this process is addressing key issues that affect your and your family’s future. If you are considering legal separation, consult with an experienced DuPage County, Illinois legal separation lawyer. Matthew Williams has extensive experience with legal separation and is skilled at guiding couples through the process. Call the The Law Office of Matthew M. Williams, P.C. at 630-409-8184 for quality legal service today.

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The Law Office of Matthew M. Williams, P.C.


1444 North Farnsworth Avenue, Suite 307, Aurora, IL 60505

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