What should you know about getting a legal separation in Illinois? First off, what is the difference between a legal separation and a divorce in the state? Because, while many components may appear the same, there are still some very crucial differences between the two.
A legal separation, for one, doesn't dissolve the marriage, whereas a divorce does. In other words, a couple who is legally separated can resume their marriage if they reconcile, while a divorced couple who decides they want to be together again would have to re-marry.
If a legal separation is the option you want to pursue, here are some things that you should know:
Separation vs. Legal Separation
A legal separation is a very specific type of separation that requires filing an order with the court in Illinois for their approval. During the process, the court will divvy up the couple's property rights, determine child custody, and child and spousal support. In other words, a legal separation is a formal, legal process.
On the other hand, a physical separation, or any other kind of separation where a couple decides to take some time apart, is much more informal and doesn't usually require the courts. Even though informal separation doesn't require one, speaking with a divorce attorney may still be useful.
Certain Time and Location Requirements.
On top of filing with the court, you also need to ensure that you and your spouse fulfill certain time and location requirements.
In the state of Illinois, for example, a child must have lived in the state for at least 6 months before a court is able to determine custody rights for him or her. Also, you and your spouse must have both lived in the state for at least 90 days if you want to file for separation in that state.
The process of legally separating can be daunting and complicated to deal with. It's best to consult with a local attorney in your area to assess the needs of your particular case.
- Legal Separation vs. Divorce (FindLaw)
- Legal Separation before Divorce (FindLaw)
- Considering Divorce? Think About Legal Separation (FindLaw's Chicago Family Law News)
- US Couples Keep Choosing Legal Separation Over Divorce (FindLaw's Strategist)