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IL divorce lawyerMany 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:

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IL divorce lawyerMany Muslim families in DuPage County struggle with the decision about whether a divorce is appropriate. Although two spouses might be having significant problems in their marriage, the prospect of going through a divorce can be unappealing for religious and cultural reasons. Yet for many Muslims, there is a need to move forward with a separation that involves the court making decisions about marital property and child custody. In some situations, there are allegations of family or domestic violence, and one of the spouses might not feel safe remaining in the relationship or in the same household. In other situations, the animosity between the spouses might have reached a level that requires a change.

For Muslim spouses in DuPage County who do not feel comfortable getting divorced, a legal separation might be an option. Although many states in the country do not have specific provisions for a legal separation, the state of Illinois does specifically consider legal separation in the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA). Our experienced Oakbrook Terrace family lawyers want to help you gain more information about legal separation.

Support and Maintenance Can Be Ordered in a Legal Separation

One of the first and most important issues to know about legal separation in Illinois is that the IMDMA allows the court to order support and maintenance in a legal separation. The statute expressly states that any individual living separate and apart from his or her spouse may have a remedy for reasonable support while they live apart.

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IL divorce lawyerIf you are having difficulties in your marriage, you might be considering divorce. At the same time, there are many reasons that you may be thinking about potential alternatives to divorce. To be sure, we work with many Muslim families in DuPage County who want to avoid divorce for religious and cultural reasons. For those families, a legal separation can provide some of the same benefits of divorce without the religious and cultural implications. There are also many financial reasons that legal separation may be preferable to getting divorced. To be clear, a legal separation does not legally end the marriage, but it allows the parties to have some of the benefits that come with a divorce. A divorce, differently, results in a legal end to the marriage.

When you have questions about legal separation versus divorce, you should get in touch with a DuPage County family law attorney who can help with your situation.

What Is a Legal Separation?

Under the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA), two people who are married can opt for a legal separation instead of a divorce. Not all states have laws for legal separation, but Illinois is a state that does allow for legal separation. The IMDMA clarifies that “any person living separate and apart from his or her spouse may have a remedy for reasonable support and maintenance while they so live apart.” Under the statute (750 ILCS 5/402), the court is also permitted to enter a judgment for legal separation, which can include a property settlement agreement between the parties that the court approves and enters as part of the judgment.

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