Legal Separation or Divorce? What You Need to Know

Should you get a legal separation or divorce? As Chicago divorce attorneys, we receive many questions from people who are weighing whether they should pursue legal separation or divorce. So how do you choose? Unless there is a religious reason that bars divorce, or some other reason that makes divorce not an option, I would elect to get the divorce.

Whether Legal Separation or Divorce, Court Filings, Agreements, and Paperwork is Required

Is a Legal Separation Necessary in Order to Move from my Home?

First, we no longer have grounds in the State of Illinois. Even if you did “abandon” your spouse and your home, it would not make any difference. No reason is needed for a legal separation, so that should not an impediment to moving out. Additionally, you will not lose your home or lose any money you would have received if you move out. There is absolutely nothing wrong with moving out of your house if that is what you want to do.

If you do move out though, be sure to get something in writing.

When Judgment of Legal Separation is Important

Marital Property Issues

Marital property continues to grow when you are separated and up until a Judgment is entered. You do not want to separate indefinitely and then years later come into court. You will want to make the decision to get into court to finalize the separation at some point.

Obtaining Child Support and Spousal Support

Your Judgment of Separation will look nearly identical to a divorce judgment. There will be provisions for child support and parenting time, as well as spousal support. You need to file an action in court to start seeking these types of financial reliefs.

Accumulating Non-Marital Property

Stop Liability for Marital Debt

You absolutely do not want to be responsible for your spouse’s bills. If you do not get a Judgment of Separation, it is still possible to be responsible for marital debts. The definition of marital property and marital debt is anything accumulated during the marriage — from the date of marriage and until the date of your legal separation judgment date.

You do not want to move out and move on, without eventually getting a judgment of legal separation since it opens you up to liability as well.

Call Our Chicago Divorce Lawyers if You’re Considering Legal Separation in Illinois


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