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St. Charles IL divorce lawyerThe process of legally ending a marriage can take many months even after a divorce petition has been filed. However, for many couples who separate before seeking a divorce, the process can be much longer. Some people are separated for years before finally making the decision that divorce is the best option. If this is true for you, you may find yourself dealing with some of the following legal issues during the divorce process.

Demonstrating Irreconcilable Differences

In order for a divorce to be granted in Illinois, the petitioner must demonstrate that the marriage has failed due to irreconcilable differences. This is a minor obstacle for most couples who are in agreement about getting a divorce, but it can be a bigger challenge when one spouse is opposed. However, if you and your spouse have already been living apart from each other for at least six months, with or without a judgment of legal separation, the court will consider this as irrebuttable evidence of irreconcilable differences, meaning that the divorce can proceed despite a spouse’s possible objection.

Revisiting Spousal Maintenance and Child-Related Issues

If you have petitioned the court for a judgment of legal separation prior to filing for divorce, it is likely that you have already reached an agreement with your spouse regarding spousal support, child support, and the allocation of parental responsibilities throughout the separation period. This may help you to simplify the divorce process if this arrangement continues to meet everyone’s needs and you can agree to continue it under the same terms after the divorce. However, if your circumstances have changed substantially during the separation, or if you are no longer satisfied with the agreement, you will have the opportunity to renegotiate the agreement during the divorce process.

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Algonquin family law attorney legal separation

If you are confident that staying married is no longer in your best interest, the finality of a divorce may be what you need to move forward with your life. On the other hand, if you have doubts or reservations, divorce may feel like too permanent of a decision for your current situation. In this case, a legal separation may be a good option, but you should be aware of the potential benefits and drawbacks before you begin the process.

Advantages of a Legally Separating

During a legal separation, you and your spouse will live separately while remaining legally married. One spouse’s move to a new residence does not automatically initiate a legal separation, however. Rather, you will need to bring the action before your county court.

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Kane County family law attorneyMany married couples grow apart and decide they can no longer live happily ever after. However, divorce is a big step, and some spouses may not be ready for such a drastic action. In Illinois, another option couples can consider is filing for a legal separation. This is a legal process that formalizes a separation, which is granted in the form of a court order, while the spouses remain legally married. 

Choosing between a legal separation and a divorce is sometimes a matter of personal preference. Some individuals have religious or personal beliefs that do not allow them to get divorced, but a legal separation permits them to stay married while living separate lives. Couples may think that a legal separation is not as involved as a divorce, but it still requires the couple seeking it to address certain issues, as well as follow the proper legal steps. 

Benefits to Separating Versus Divorcing

A divorce can be the right option for many spouses who are in dysfunctional relationships. However, there are scenarios where a legal separation is a more appropriate alternative. This option leaves the door open in case a couple decides to reconcile. It is important to note that a legal separation does not mean the spouses can remarry other people; that is only possible after obtaining a final divorce decree. A few instances where obtaining a legal separation might make more sense include the following:

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