Legal Separation— how does it compare to divorce and is it right for you?

Dec 6, 2019

When contemplating a divorce, many people search for what could be a less final, less scary “trial run,” such as a legal separation.  While there are certain limited benefits to be gained from a legal separation, in Illinois, the process is not necessarily easier, cheaper, or faster than a divorce. Here is what to consider: 

What is legal separation?

In simple terms, legal separation is a court decree allocating the rights and responsibilities of two spouses who remain legally married to each other but live separate and apart. Legal separation grants many of the same rights and protections that divorce does, but without the ability to remarry.


Many people think that a legal separation is a step toward getting a divorce. In Illinois, a formal legal separation is a separate proceeding, not a precondition to a divorce. In other states, that is not always the case.


While lawyers and judges always inquire as to when a couple became separated as part of a divorce proceeding, that inquiry concerns the practical living circumstances of the couple, not their legal status.

How does legal separation compare to divorce? A quick overview:

Is legal separation right for you?

Procedurally, legal separation and divorce are substantially similar.  Legal separation can cost as much, and take as much time, as a divorce.  As such, another option that many people opt for is entering into a post-nuptial agreement for financial protections in lieu of going through a formal legal separation process or divorce.


If you would like to discuss whether divorce, legal separation or a post-nuptial agreement could be the right option for you, please call (312) 201- 0030, to schedule a complimentary consultation with an attorney at Gaynor Law.[1]


[1] Gaynor Law offers a complimentary 30-minute consultation, thereafter applicable fees apply.