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Do We Need to Separate Before Filing for Divorce?

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separation, Will County divorce attorneyIf you have ever filled out an application for a credit card or another purpose, you may have been required to check a box regarding your marital status. While the options nearly always include “single – never married,” “married,” “divorced,” and “widowed,” some go one step further and list an additional choice: “separated.” For many people, this raises questions about how common it is for a couple to be separated, especially those who are likely headed for divorce. Does a couple need to be separated before a divorce will be granted?

Legal Separation and Living Apart

The option of “separated” on an application usually refers to a legal disposition for the purposes of either financial responsibility or demographic tracking. Legal separation is much more complicated than one spouse moving out and both parties telling people that they have separated. In fact, legal separation typically involves most of the elements of a divorce, except that the marriage is still legally intact. While many couples who are legally separated eventually get divorced, very few who get divorced are ever legally separated.

The more casual understanding of separation, however, is a different story. Most couples go through some type of separation period prior to divorce. One spouse may find an apartment or move back in with his or her parents while the couple decides whether to permanently end the marriage or not.

Requirements in Illinois

The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act was recently updated to eliminate the mandatory period of separation that was once required for a no-fault divorce. Before January 1, 2016, a couple divorcing the grounds of irreconcilable differences was required to live separate and apart for at least two years before their divorce would be granted. The separation could be reduced by agreement of the spouses, but could never be less than six months.

Today, however, there is no longer any mandatory separation period. The amended law does reference a period of separation, but only in cases where both spouses are not in agreement regarding the divorce. In those situations, a six-month separation will be accepted by the court as definitive proof of irreconcilable differences, and the divorce may proceed.

Guidance for Your Divorce

When you are considering a divorce, it is very important that you have all of the information necessary to make an informed decision. Contact an experienced Will County family law attorney today to discuss your situation and get the answers you need to whatever questions you may have. Call 815-666-1285 or 815-733-5350 for a free, no-obligation consultation.

Source:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs5.asp?ActID=2086&ChapterID=0

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