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What Are the Benefits and Drawbacks of a Legal Separation in Illinois?

Posted on in Divorce

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.

If you choose to go with the option of legal separation, you may find that it offers several benefits for you and your spouse. These can include:

  • Time to consider your next course of action. Petitioning for divorce can start a process that feels like an inevitable march toward the end of your marriage, but a legal separation can give you the opportunity to reflect on your wants, needs, and emotions to decide whether or not reconciliation is possible and you do want to move forward with a dissolution.

  • Continued spousal health insurance benefits. While you are still legally married, you may be eligible for health insurance coverage through your spouse’s employer. This can be especially important during a global health crisis like the COVID-19 pandemic, or if you have an ongoing health condition and are not eligible for insurance through your own employer.

  • Adherence to religious or cultural beliefs. If your culture or religion does not support divorce, a legal separation may be a valid long-term alternative that allows you to leave a non-functioning relationship without the stigma of an official divorce.

Drawbacks of Legal Separation

Despite these potential benefits, a legal separation does not work in every situation, and you should consider some of the possible downsides as well. For example:

  • The challenges of living in two separate households. If you are hoping that legal separation will allow you to avoid all of the legal challenges of a divorce, you may be disappointed. Because you and your spouse will be living apart, you may need to resolve issues related to spousal maintenance, as well as child support and parenting time if you have children under the age of 18. 

  • Marital status in limbo. Staying married to your spouse means that you cannot legally remarry, and it may be difficult to begin any new romantic relationship as long as your spouse is still in the picture.

Contact a St. Charles Family Law Attorney

At the Law Offices of Benedict Schwarz, II PC, we believe it is important for you to make the decisions that are best for your marriage. Whether you want to pursue a legal separation or a divorce, we have the knowledge and experience to guide and represent you throughout the legal process. Contact our reputable Kane County divorce lawyer today at 847-428-7725 to schedule an initial consultation.





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