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Divorce vs. Legal Separation in Illinois: Is One Better Than the Other? 

Posted on in Divorce

wheaton divorce lawyerCouples who are sure their marriage has irretrievably broken down usually find that divorce is the best option. However, some spouses may not be confident that their problems are past the point of reconciliation; other spouses may be religiously or ethically opposed to divorce. For married people in Illinois who are not fully ready to commit to divorce, legal separation may be a more viable option. If you are considering ending your relationship, understanding the difference between divorce and legal separation can make it easier to make the decision that is best for you. 


The biggest difference between legal separation and divorce is that divorce is permanent. During the divorce process, spouses resolve important issues so they can move forward with their personal lives and get married again one day if they wish. The resolution of certain issues, such as agreements related to the children or spousal maintenance payments, can be modified when necessary; other issues, like the division of marital property, are final. Depending on the complexity of a divorce, as well as the ability of spouses to cooperate, a divorce can take between three months and two years to complete. The cost of a divorce can vary accordingly. 

Legal Separation

For couples who need time apart to consider the long-term sustainability of their relationship, and even for those who may even be fairly certain that divorce is imminent, legal separation can provide a cool-down period for spouses to reflect and consider their options. Because legal separation is still a formal legal process that includes addressing issues related to children and finances, it is, for some couples, a kind of “trial” divorce. Couples who are legally separated may not get remarried, and eventually they may decide to pursue the additional process of getting divorced. 


If a couple feels as though even a legal separation would be too formal, a temporary informal separation period may be a good idea. However, because an informal separation may just consist of one spouse moving out and verbally agreeing on parenting time, parents may want to consider putting a separation agreement in writing to protect themselves if the other parent changes their mind. 

Speak with a DuPage County Legal Separation Lawyer

If you are unsure whether you want to pursue temporary legal separation or formally end your marriage with divorce, an experienced Wheaton, IL divorce attorney with The Stogsdill Law Firm, P.C. can help. We know that making these choices can be difficult, and will walk you through your options so you can make an informed decision. Call our offices today at 630-462-9500 to schedule a confidential consultation. 




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