Courtney ∙ Clark Law, P.C.Courtney ∙ Clark Law, P.C.
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What are the differences between divorce and legal separation?

Deciding to end a marriage is a significant step, and some couples in Illinois choose instead to file for a legal separation. This allows the couple to remain married but live separately, while a divorce would dissolve the marriage. Some prefer this option because it leaves them with the opportunity to reconcile and get back together. Reconciliation after a divorce would require the couple to remarry if they wish to have a legal reunification.

Some Social Security benefits that would be lost in a divorce may be retained in a legal separation, along with other benefits such as health care. Legal separation does not change one's marital status, which means that neither party is free to marry anyone else. Spouses will also remain next of kin who may be able to make certain financial or medical decisions for each other in the event of one becoming debilitated.

While debts and liabilities are divided during the dissolution process, both parties remain responsible for them in a legal separation, depending on the terms of the separation. Another difference involves property rights in the event of one spouse's death. In a legal separation, property benefits rights are typically retained, while these rights are extinguished by divorce. When it comes to child-related issues, the court will base decisions on the best interests of the child in the same manner as they would in the case of a divorce.

Considering all the pros and cons of divorce vs. legal separation is advised before proceeding with one or the other. An experienced Illinois family law attorney can answer questions and provide his or her input, based on the client's unique circumstances. Legal counsel can also assist with negotiations about all applicable family law matters during the period of legal separation.

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Courtney ∙ Clark Law, P.C.
104 South Charles Street
Belleville, IL 62220

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Phone: 618-207-3458
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