Couples contemplating divorce may decide to separate to determine if that is what they really want to do. It is an opportunity for couples to get a taste of what it will be like to live independent of one another – managing separate households, finances and many other aspects that make up one’s individual life.
During a period of separation, couples often take the first steps to handle the prospect of a divorce emotionally and, if they haven’t done so already, they may begin to consider where they stand legally and financially in terms of marital property division, spousal maintenance, child support and parenting time should they divorce.
If separation is something you are considering, it is important to understand the distinction between a physical and legal separation. Although separation generally commences on the day you and your spouse begin to live apart, an informal physical separation offers little legal protection when compared to a legal separation.
Legal separation requires formal filing, often accomplished with the help of an experienced family law attorney. A legal separation will establish the all-important date of separation, which will impact the division of marital property including assets, income, retirement funds and the division accumulated debt if you decide to divorce later.
An informal physical separation, on the other hand, is subject to disagreement between spouses in the event of a divorce resulting in potential financial consequences. If your spouse runs up a lot of debt during an informal separation, you may be on the hook too. If you have a particularly profitable business year, your spouse gets his or her share even if you never intended to get back together in the first place.
It difficult to know where a separation may lead. Some couples feel quite certain that a separation is just a period of reconciliation and will result in getting back on track. Of course, there are times when only one spouse is really trying to save the marriage while the other is letting the separation run its course before moving on to divorce. There are also times when both spouses see the inevitability of a divorce and just don’t have the time or emotional energy to call it quits. In all cases, it is in your best interest to make it legal. If all goes well, you can simply reunite without having to remarry, but in the event you do, you will be protected.
When You Have Questions on an Illinois Legal Separation Agreement
Contact a Lake County (IL) Family Law Attorney for Answers
When you have questions regarding legal separation in Illinois, contact the Lake county Illinois family law attorneys of Schlesinger & Strauss LLC for help today at 847-680-4970.