I Have a Legal Separation But Want to Get Divorced
Many married couples in DuPage County opt for a legal separation instead of a divorce. Under the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA), a legal separation can allow spouses to live separate and apart without actually going through the legal process of divorce while still asking the court to determine issues like support and the allocation of parental responsibilities. There are many different reasons that spouses opt for a legal separation instead of a divorce. For many Muslim families, legal separation is preferable to divorce for religious reasons, but you may also have other motivations for seeking a legal separation instead of divorce. For instance, one of the spouses may need to rely on the other spouse’s health insurance for major treatment or care, or the spouses may be thinking about tax considerations.
Regardless of your initial reason for seeking a legal separation instead of a divorce, you might now be considering a divorce and you may be unsure about the steps you need to take to move forward. It is important to discuss the particular facts of your situation with a DuPage County family lawyer, but in the meantime, we can provide you with general information about moving from a legal separation to a divorce.
You Can File for Divorce After a Legal Separation
The IMDMA is clear that you can file for divorce even if you have a legal separation—you do not need to choose between a legal separation or a divorce with the understanding that the two are mutually exclusive. The IMDMA expressly states:
“A proceeding or judgment for legal separation shall not bar either party from instituting an action for dissolution of marriage, and if the party so moving has met the requirements under Section 401 [of the IMDMA], a judgment for dissolution shall be granted.”
You Will File a Petition for Divorce
If you currently have a legal separation, you will file a petition for divorce just as you would if you did not have the legal separation. Since Illinois is a no-fault divorce state, you will only need to show that there are “irreconcilable differences.” This requirement is typically easy to meet after a legal separation since you have been living separate and apart from your spouse.
Court Will Decide Maintenance Anew
Unless your judgment for legal separation awards non-modifiable permanent spousal maintenance, the court will decide whether spousal maintenance is appropriate anew, along with the amount and duration of the maintenance award.
Contact an Oakbrook Terrace Family Lawyer for Assistance
If you are currently legally separated from your spouse but you now want to learn more about getting divorced, one of our experienced Oakbrook Terrace family lawyers can speak with you today about filing a petition for the dissolution of marriage. To be clear, you can seek a divorce after a legal separation, but you should have a dedicated divorce lawyer on your side to assist you with the case. At Farooqi & Husain Law Office, we are committed to serving the Muslim community in DuPage County, and an advocate at our firm can talk with you about your case. Contact Farooqi & Husain Law Office online or contact us by phone at 630-909-9114 to learn more about how we can assist you.