When married couples have trouble in their relationship, they often seek out a variety of options to improve the marriage before settling on divorce. If divorce is not quite right for you or you simply have not made up your mind about whether to commit to it, legal separation could be a better alternative option.
Some couples choose legal separation because a decisive issue has degraded their ability or willingness to reside together in the short term. Others legally separate because doing so has the potential to create separate finances, which could impact tax obligations.
Whatever your reason for considering a separation agreement, making the decision is often easier when you understand some of the benefits and limitations of these agreements, as well as some of the basic requirements. If you live in Will County or any of the surrounding areas, a local lawyer could help you make an informed decision about how a separation agreement may impact you.
For many couples, the primary benefit of legal separation is the fact that it does not actually end their marriage. Instead, it provides a framework for how you and your spouse will live separately. It can also identify the rights and responsibilities of each party to the agreement, potentially including spousal support and child support obligations where applicable.
Usually, judges do not make property determinations when it comes to legal separation. For instance, while a separation agreement might state that you will remain in your marital home during a legal separation, the court will usually not go so far as to remove your spouse from the property’s title if they are already listed on it.
750 Illinois Compiled Statutes 5/402 addresses the requirements of legal separation.
First and foremost, you and your spouse must already be living apart when you file the action for legal separation. This does not always mean that you both must be living in different places; simply not living together in the way a married couple typically would may suffice in some circumstances.
The petition for legal separation may be filed in either county in which you and your spouse currently live, or in the county in which you last resided together. Whoever is filing for legal separation must also attest that they are not the cause of the separation.
Spouses can choose to live separately without a formal agreement. However, legal separations can have many benefits. While certainly not right for everyone, they can be an effective tool in many circumstances.
Determining your goal in pursuing a legal separation is an important first step, and experienced legal assistance could help you weigh the pros and cons. If you are considering legal separation or would like to explore more about how it might affect you, call our firm today and start working with our experienced legal team to understand the role a legal separation could play in your marriage.