Should You Consider a Legal Separation?
In most cases, a couple that decides to end their marriage will do so simply by filing a petition for divorce and working through the process. While in the past, the majority of such situations required that the spouses live separately for a period of time, there was no requirement that the couple obtain a legal separation before proceeding to divorce. Recent changes to divorce laws in Illinois have eliminated the required separation period, making legal separation potentially even more rare. Some may even see it as obsolete. Despite being uncommon, however, there may be situations in which a legal separation may provide some benefit for the involved parties.
Legal Separation vs. Divorce
During a proceeding for legal separation, the considerations are much the same as a proceeding for a divorce. Issues of parental responsibilities and parenting time must be addressed, along with concerns regarding spousal maintenance. There are, however, two primary differences between a legal separation and a divorce. First, the court cannot force the spouses to divide property in a legal separation. If the couple presents a property settlement agreement of their own to the court, the court may include it, but the court will not make such a decision absent a proposed agreement.
The other main difference is that a legal separation does not end the marriage. You and your spouse are still legally married and cannot enter into a new marriage.
Reasons for a Legal Separation
While social opinion regarding divorce has evolved greatly in the last few decades, there are still many communities and families who take a fairly dim view on the subject. Of course, the decision to divorce is very personal, so if you believe that a divorce would violate your values or religious beliefs, a legal separation may be an option.
Legal separation may also be appropriate if you and your spouse have been separated for an extended period of time and the divorce process is moving very slowly. There could be several advantages to this option, including establishing a routine for your children. Legal separation also creates a boundary of sorts regarding marital property. After a judgment of legal separation has been entered, any property acquired by either spouse will not be included in the marital estate if a divorce should follow. Therefore, if you are in the midst of an ongoing divorce, and business opportunities have become available, you may wish to pursue a legal separation to prevent your investments from benefitting your estranged spouse.
Call Today to Learn More
If you have additional questions about legal separation and how the process could help your situation, contact an experienced family law attorney in Geneva, Illinois. We will help you find the answers you need. Call 630-232-9700 to schedule a confidential consultation at The Law Offices of Douglas B. Warlick & Associates today.