Separate but Together: The Legal Separation Process

When couples seek to reduce their legal obligation to their spouse but not dissolve their marriage permanently, legal separation presents an opportunity to maintain the marriage without a financial or physical commitment.

Kogut & Wilson attorneys outline legal separation and what the process entails.

What is Legal Separation?

Legal separation is a court-approved agreement between two spouses to live financially and physically separate from each other. In contrast to divorce, a judgment of legal separation does not legally and permanently end a marriage, meaning the parties remain legally married after separated.

The Legal Separation Process

The legal separation process shares similarities to that of a divorce proceeding with a key stipulation: before filing a petition for legal separation, the parties must be living in separate residences.

Once living separately, they may file a petition for legal separation in the circuit court of the county in which the petitioner or respondent resides or in the county in which the parties last resided together as spouses.

The Impact of Legal Separation

Pursuant to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act “any person living separate and apart from his or her spouse may have a remedy for reasonable support and maintenance while they so live apart.” This section of the Act allows the court to grant temporary maintenance, child support, parenting time and allocation of parental responsibilities to parties filing for legal separation.

Upon granting legal separation, a court may also approve a property settlement.

Contact a Kogut & Wilson family law attorney at (312) 565-4100 to learn more about legal separation and additional alternatives to traditional divorce.


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