Legal Separation Vs Divorce

Choosing between Legal Separation and Divorce

Capable attorneys helping you decide

M. Scott Gordon & Associates can help you if you and your spouse want to live separately with separate financial lives, without ending the marriage. Under Illinois law, if a couple makes this choice, they must still present their case to the circuit court in the county where the couple last resided together or where the responding spouse lives.

The court proceeding for a legal separation is almost identical to that of a divorce. A judge will decide for the spouses if they cannot reach an agreement on alimony, allocation of parental responsibilities (formerly known as child custody) or child support. Under the new 2016 amendments to our law, the court cannot divide property without an agreement of both parties.

If either spouse requests a divorce later, the court may convert a legal separation to a dissolution of marriage. However, the terms of the legal separation regarding the marital issues is binding, except that some terms of maintenance will be reviewed.

Protecting your interests with a separation agreement

Even when you and your spouse agree on all of these issues, you should consult a family law attorney. When an agreement is reached, you need to document your decisions and file for a Judgment for Legal Separation. A judge reviews it to make sure that you and your spouse are dividing your rights and responsibilities fairly.

The attorneys at M. Scott Gordon & Associates can assist you in reaching an agreement and documenting it for review. Our firm understands the issues the court wants addressed and can anticipate how a judge may distribute property and handle allocation of parental responsibilities (formerly known as custody). We take into consideration the factors that a judge would consider when deciding on these matters.

Explaining the benefits of legal separation in Evanston

Couples may choose a legal separation for any of the following reasons:

  • The spouses have religious beliefs opposing divorce.
  • The spouses find negotiating an agreement for a legal separation less stressful than negotiating a divorce.
  • The spouses want to retain healthcare or other insurance benefits.
  • The spouses can receive favorable tax benefits if still married.
  • The spouses are soon to be eligible for certain government benefits.

We understand why clients might prefer a legal separation to a divorce, and we help them make an educated decision about this matter. Cook County divorce attorneys M. Scott Gordon & Associates offers guidance and advice based on years of experience and with a personal interest in each case.

Get competent advice about choosing whether to divorce or separate

We at M. Scott Gordon & Associates are committed to our clients and to helping them make important decisions for their families. Making the choice between divorce and legal separation is challenging, and our firm can give you the guidance to help you make an informed decision.

Contact our lawyers at M. Scott Gordon & Associates online or call  312.360.0250 for our Chicago office or  847.329.0101 for our Skokie office.

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