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DuPage County legal separation attorneyThere are many different factors that influence the sustainability of a marriage. For many married couples, knowing whether it is time to formally end a marriage through divorce is not easy. One option that many married couples utilize when they are not ready to divorce is legal separation. However, it is important to understand that living apart or separating from your spouse is not the same as obtaining a legal separation. Couples that are legally separated are still technically married, but they gain much greater protection under the law than couples that are simply living apart. Some reasons you may consider legal separation include:

There Is Still a Chance for Reconciliation But You Want to Separate Finances

Divorce is a very definitive action. There is no undoing a divorce. If you and your spouse have had major marital trouble, but you believe that there is still a chance for you to reconcile in the future, a legal separation may be right for you. If you obtain a legal separation, you will be able to gain many of the benefits of divorce without actually ending your marriage.

When spouses are simply living apart, the spouses’ finances are still legally intertwined. This means that a spouse may be responsible for the consequences of the other spouse’s financial decisions during the physical separation period. Spouses who are legally separated are subject to a court order called a separation agreement that formally separates the spouses’ finances. Furthermore, a spouse is not responsible for debts accumulated by the other spouse after the legal separation has gone into effect. 

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Wheaton legal separation attorneyThe choice to get a divorce is a hard decision to make, and the process of ending a marriage can take a great deal of time, money, and energy. Needless to say, few people take the decision to divorce lightly. If you are not completely positive that divorce is your only option, a legal separation might be a better option, and one that is easier to reverse if you do decide to stay married. However, it is important to understand how each of these options will affect your finances, the custody of your children, and the benefits you can receive. If you are considering separation, you should work with an experienced attorney to ensure that you understand your rights and the processes that will be followed.

Legal Separation vs. Divorce

The main difference between legal separation and divorce is that during legal separation, you will remain legally married, while divorce will end your marriage. With a legal separation, you can maintain health insurance, life insurance, and Social Security benefits from your partner. If you get a divorce, you will no longer be eligible for these spousal benefits. In addition, in a legal separation, spouses are still considered next of kin and can make medical and financial decisions that affect each other. Spouses who are legally separated will also continue to be responsible for each other’s debts.

If you have chosen to legally separate in order to maintain certain benefits, this means that you will still be legally tied to your spouse. While you can begin a relationship with a new partner, you will not be able to get remarried until you have legally ended your marriage through divorce.

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