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Legal Separation Lawyer in Northbrook, IL

Northbrook legal separation lawyer David Silberman has more than 15 years of experience helping couples who want to separate from their spouses, but aren’t ready for a full-blown divorce. If you would like to stay legally married and retain many of the financial benefits and other perks that married couples enjoy, but you want to physically separate from your spouse, contact our law firm for a consultation. We’ll help you understand the benefits (and drawbacks) of becoming legally separated in Illinois.

What Is Legal Separation?

Legal separation is a legal arrangement in which a married couple lives separately but remains legally married. Unlike divorce, a legal separation does not terminate the marital relationship. Instead, it allows couples to address issues such as child custody, spousal support, property division, and financial responsibilities while living apart.

Legal separation can be an option for those who have religious or personal objections to divorce, wish to retain certain benefits like health insurance, or want a trial period of separation before deciding whether to pursue a divorce. It involves a court-approved separation agreement outlining the terms of the separation, which can later be incorporated into a divorce decree if the couple chooses to divorce.

Call David Silberman at 312.593.0075

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Young couple consulting a lawyer about divorce.
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How Does Legal Separation Work in Illinois?

Legal separation in Illinois operates as a formal process that allows married couples to live apart while addressing important legal and financial matters without officially ending their marriage. This arrangement can be an alternative for couples who have reasons to remain legally married, such as religious beliefs, or want to maintain certain benefits like health insurance. Here’s how legal separation works in Illinois:

Filing for Legal Separation

To initiate a legal separation in Illinois, one spouse must file a petition for legal separation with the appropriate county court. The process begins similarly to filing for divorce, with the petitioner (the spouse initiating the separation) providing specific grounds for the separation. Common grounds for legal separation include irreconcilable differences or living separate and apart for a specified period. Once the petition is filed, the other spouse, known as the respondent, receives notice and has the opportunity to respond.

Legal Separation Agreement

After the initial filing, the couple must create a legal separation agreement that outlines the terms of their separation. This agreement addresses key issues, including child custody and visitation arrangements, spousal support (if applicable), property division, financial responsibilities, and other matters relevant to their separation. If the couple can agree on these terms, the court reviews and approves the agreement. If disagreements arise, the court may mediate or make decisions on unresolved issues.

A legal separation in Illinois can serve as a precursor to divorce. If the couple ultimately decides to divorce, the terms of the legal separation agreement can often be incorporated into the divorce decree. Legal separation proceedings in Illinois follow a structured legal process, and it’s advisable for individuals seeking legal separation to consult with an experienced family law attorney who can provide guidance and help navigate the complexities of the legal system to ensure their rights and interests are protected throughout the process.

FAQs About Legal Separation in Illinois

1. What is the difference between legal separation and divorce in Illinois?

In Illinois, legal separation and divorce are distinct legal processes, each with its own implications and outcomes. The key differences between legal separation and divorce in Illinois include, but are not limited to, marital status, property division, financial responsibilities, health insurance and benefits, and remarriage.

While legal separation offers some advantages, such as preserving certain benefits or allowing for reconciliation, it does not offer the complete legal and financial separation that divorce does. Couples contemplating either option should consult with an attorney to understand the legal ramifications and choose the path that best suits their individual circumstances and goals.

2. Can child custody be decided in a legal separation in Illinois?

Yes, child custody can be decided in a legal separation in Illinois. When a couple goes through a legal separation, they often need to address matters related to child custody, visitation, and support, just as they would in a divorce.

3. Can I get remarried after a legal separation in Illinois?

In Illinois, if you have obtained a legal separation, you are still legally married to your spouse. Therefore, you cannot remarry someone else while your marriage remains legally intact. Legal separation does not terminate the marital relationship; it merely formalizes the arrangement for spouses to live separately while addressing issues such as child custody, support, and property division.

If you wish to remarry, you will need to pursue a divorce or dissolution of the marriage. A divorce in Illinois results in the termination of the marital bond, allowing both parties to remarry if they choose to do so. Keep in mind that divorce proceedings are separate from legal separation proceedings, and you will need to meet the requirements for divorce under Illinois law.

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