Legal Separation May Be an Option

legal separation, relationships, Illinois family lawyerLike many things in life, marriage and divorce are not necessarily defined in “black and white” terms. While there is obviously a level of certainty to getting married and the finalization of a divorce decree, most couples probably find that their relationship exists somewhere in the so-called “gray area.” This may be particularly true for a couple experiencing a degree of trouble in their marriage but are not ready or able to simply put an end to the relationship. For such couples, legal separation may be an option that helps them through a challenging period.

Trial Separation and Legal Separation

Although impossible to truly count, many couples will experience, at some point, a level of doubt about the future of their marriage, and often consider a trial separation. Creating physical space between spouses in a troubled relationship can sometimes improve perspectives for the partners while living separately. While such a decision is common, it must not be made lightly, as experts indicate that trial separations have a mixed track-record when it comes to saving the marriage.

Most trial separations are relatively casual and informal, at most, requiring one spouse to rent a temporary place to live. Legal separations, however, are an official matter of public record, which allow the couple to address financial and child issues either during the course of living apart. Child custody, child support, and spousal maintenance orders can be established as the result of a legal separation, and other property and asset concerns can also be determined at the request of the couple.

Other Reasons for Legal Separation

In addition to trial separation situations, a couple may also pursue a legal separation for a number of other reasons as well:

  • Religion: A couple, based on their religious beliefs, may find divorce to be morally unconscionable, but realize that they are not happy or healthy together. A legal separation can address almost all of the same concerns applicable to a divorce, while leaving the legal status of the marriage technically intact;
  • Extended divorce proceedings: Some complex divorce cases are not able to be fully resolved quickly, as one or both parties are unable to agree on certain terms, or due to factors beyond the couple’s control. A legal separation may provide the ability to create certain agreements prior to the completion of the divorce process; and
  • Health insurance: A couple otherwise headed for divorce may elect legal separation for a period of time depending on the terms of their health insurance coverage. Divorce nearly always affects the ability of a spouse to remain on the other partner’s insurance plan, but the impact of legal separation may vary based on particular carrier or plan, including. By remaining legally married, it may be possible for a spouse to keep coverage or eligibility, despite the separate living arrangement.

If you have questions about legal separation or the divorce process, the professionals at Cosely Law Office can provide the answers. Contact an experienced family law attorney in Arlington Heights today for a free consultation. We will work with you to help you understand your options and how to best proceed in your situation.

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