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Wakenight & Associates, P.C.

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DuPage County | 630-852-9700   Mokena | 815-727-6144

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Why Choose Legal Separation in Lieu of Divorce?

 Posted on April 23, 2019 in Divorce

Oak Park Legal Separation LawyerWhen a marriage reaches a breaking point, many people turn immediately to divorce. For others, that is not the outcome they want to pursue, so they may instead choose legal separation. Reasons for separation as opposed to divorce may include religious beliefs, health insurance, or any number of other personal issues. Legally, the agreements that spouses must make are very similar whether they have opted for divorce or legal separation, although there are a few differences.

What is Legal Separation?

While some couples may choose to separate temporarily and see if they can still work things out, a legal document does not need to be signed for that. Legal separation is a more permanent decision. One must file for it in court, just like a divorce. The spouses must draft a written agreement similar to a divorce settlement, addressing child custody and support, alimony, property division, and other relevant matters. The legal separation agreement must be signed and approved in court.

In a legal separation, however, the parties are still legally married. One of the benefits is that either spouse can remain on the health insurance of the other indefinitely. This can be invaluable if one spouse would otherwise have trouble getting affordable health insurance.

Another reason for legal separation may be to wait out the 10 years required before a divorced spouse can qualify for a former spouse‚Äôs Social Security benefits. In this case, the couple may divorce once they have been married for the minimum required 10 years. In addition, certain military benefits may also be retained if couples legally separate rather than divorce.  

One more benefit to staying married, but legally separated, is that the spouses may still file a joint tax return. In some situations, couples who file jointly will have a lower tax liability than those who file as individuals. Therefore, legal separation could save both parties money, tax-wise.

What is Best for You?

If you are considering a divorce or legal separation, an attorney can help you determine which is best for your individual situation. In most cases, if the marriage is irreparable, a divorce will make the most sense. However, there could be extenuating circumstances that make legal separation a better option.

Contact a Knowledgeable Oak Park Divorce Attorney

If you are facing the choice of legal separation or divorce, the attorneys at Wakenight and Associates, P.C. can help. An experienced Cook County divorce attorney will be able to guide you through making the best decision for your personal situation. Call 708-480-9651 to schedule a free consultation.


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