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Is Legal Separation a Potential Alternative to Divorce?

 Posted on February 08, 2022 in Legal Separation

b2ap3_thumbnail_shutterstock_605213087.jpgMarriages can break down for many reasons. In some situations, a spouse may wish to get a divorce because of issues such as infidelity or abuse. The spouse may believe that ending the marriage would be best for everyone involved. However, there are many cases where a couple may be experiencing relationship issues because of disagreements about how their children should be raised, arguments about financial matters, or simply because they feel that they are no longer compatible. If a couple is unsure about whether divorce is the best choice, or if they wish to remain married for other reasons, legal separation may be a better option. This may allow a couple to take steps on the road to divorce while they determine whether their relationship can be repaired, or it may work as a more permanent solution that provides benefits for both parties.

Reasons to Choose a Legal Separation

Divorce will legally terminate a couple’s marriage. Some couples who are experiencing relationship issues may not be sure about whether they are ready to take this final, irrevocable step. By pursuing a legal separation, a couple may begin the divorce process and make some decisions about how matters will be handled while they are separated, and they will have the option to reconcile in the future. Legal separation may also be an option for couples who do not wish to get divorced due to religious or cultural reasons. It may also allow spouses to maintain certain benefits of being legally married, such as ensuring that one spouse will receive health insurance or other benefits through the other spouse.

A legal separation is handled in a similar manner as a divorce, and a couple will need to address many of the same issues that they would need to resolve when dissolving their marriage. These may include decisions about how child custody will be handled while parents are living apart, including how they will make decisions about their children and the amount of time children will spend with each parent. 

Child support orders may also be put in place to ensure that both parents will be contributing toward children’s ongoing needs. If necessary, one spouse may pay spousal support to the other to address a disparity in the parties’ incomes and ensure that both spouses can maintain their standard of living. A couple may also desire to create an agreement that details how they will divide their marital property while they are separated, though this must be agreed upon, as it is not required as part of a legal separation.

When a legal separation agreement is created, it will serve as a court order that both spouses will need to follow. However, the couple will continue to be legally married, so if either party wishes to get married to a new partner, they will first need to legally dissolve their marriage through divorce. At any point in the future, either spouse may file for divorce. The divorce process may be less complicated in these cases, since many of the decisions related to the end of the couple’s marriage may already have been made when creating a separation agreement.

Contact Our Kane County Legal Separation Lawyer

If you are experiencing relationship issues in your marriage, you may be considering separating from your spouse, but you may not be sure about whether you are ready to pursue a divorce. Attorney Colleen Thomas can help you understand your options while providing you with legal help and representation as you work to resolve these issues. Contact our McHenry County family law attorney at 847-426-7990 to set up a confidential consultation today.


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