Illinois Legal Separation

Just What is Illinois Legal Separation

provided by J. Richard Kulerski, Esq.

It seems that "Legal Separation" is quite commonly misunderstood. It is not a legal label for a relationship in which the parties choose not to live together while considering divorce. It is not a designation for the legal state that you are in while you are waiting for your divorce to become final. And, it is not intended as a quick way of showing your spouse you "mean business" or as a "stepping stone" to divorce.

In fact, Legal Separation is simply the name of a case. It is a distinct cause of action that can be brought to compel payments of reasonable support or maintenance from a spouse who won't pay voluntarily. To qualify, you must already be separated, without fault on your part. The procedures of this type of case are almost identical to those of divorce and the costs are about the same. A Judgment for Legal Separation will ultimately be entered but the court cannot divide ownership of the marital assets (unless both parties agree to do so). A judgment for Legal Separation will not dissolve the marriage. Legal Separation provides limited relief and is recommended only in certain, unique instances.