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Should Older Couples Consider Legal Separation Instead of Divorce?

Posted on in Divorce

Kendall County Grey Divorce AttorneyThere are many situations where older couples may encounter relationship issues that cause them to consider divorce. However, those who have been married for many years or multiple decades may be hesitant to take the final, irrevocable step of ending their marriage. Starting over late in life may be a daunting prospect, and disentangling the various aspects of a couple’s shared existence may seem like an impossible task, especially when spouses share finances, live together in a home they have owned for a long period of time, and have accumulated a large number of possessions that have a sentimental value for both of them. In some cases, a couple may consider a legal separation instead of legally dissolving their marriage, but when doing so, they will need to understand the advantages and disadvantages of this type of arrangement.

Pros of Legal Separation

A couple may choose to pursue a trial separation as they decide whether they want to proceed with a divorce or whether they may be able to repair their relationship. By taking steps to begin separating from each other, they may be able to set the divorce process in motion, establish separate living arrangements, start to handle financial issues independently, and make decisions about who will own different pieces of property. If they do choose to go ahead with their divorce, this can help them take much of the uncertainty out of the process, and they may be able to avoid disputes that could prolong their divorce or lead to additional expenses.

A legal separation will address many of the same issues as a divorce. If one spouse will be at a financial disadvantage, they may request spousal maintenance from the other party during the couple’s separation. The couple may also reach an agreement on issues related to the division of marital property. By remaining legally married, one or both spouses may be able to take advantage of certain benefits, such as health insurance coverage provided by one spouse’s employer.

Cons of Legal Separation

In many cases, a legal separation is a temporary measure, and if a couple wishes to make their separation permanent, they may need to take steps to complete a divorce in the future. This will be necessary if either spouse begins a new relationship and wishes to get married to a new partner. 

If a couple encounters disputes over issues related to their property or finances, legal separation may not be the best option for their situation. Unlike a divorce, a family court judge cannot make decisions about how property should be divided in a legal separation, and the judge can only approve a property agreement submitted by a couple or reject an agreement that is deemed to be grossly unfair to one party. A couple will also need to be aware that if they remain legally married, they will have the right to inherit property from each other, and they may need to update their wills or other estate planning documents to ensure that their wishes will be followed correctly.

Contact Our Naperville Legal Separation Lawyers

If you are struggling to determine whether a legal separation or divorce is the best choice for you, Divorce Over 50 - Goostree Law Group can advise you of your rights and options. We will help you understand the best ways to protect yourself and make sure you will be able to move forward with your life successfully after separating from your spouse. Contact our Geneva gray divorce attorneys at 630-634-5050 to set up a free, confidential consultation and get the legal help you need.

 

Source:

https://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs4.asp?ActID=2086&ChapterID=59&SeqStart=3700000&SeqEnd=5200000

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