Are Legal Separations Recognized in Illinois?
The state of Illinois recognizes and provides for legal separation, but this option it is hardly taken by most. Legal separation is similar to divorce in many ways except for one: your marriage is still binding in marital separation and so you cannot remarry.
Similarities: You will file documents in both cases, only that they will be of different nature. You will file an Illinois Marital Separation Agreement that you can revoke in the event you work out your differences. In both cases, the orders will only be executed in court by a judge and there may be distribution of rights and liabilities.
There are mainly two ways that legal separation can be used.
If one partner to the marriage results in wasteful and harmful practices that threaten the financial stability of the family, then marital separation will safeguard the assets by distributing them into two classes. Assets acquired after separation will not be claimed by the other party, while debts will also not be distributed to the other after court order becomes effective. The marriage bonds remain effective but the couple will live separate lives.
Another instance when legal separation comes in handy is when a couple is going through divorce but they hit a rock that prevents them from meeting crucial deadlines such as filing taxes. Religious beliefs may prevent others from filing for divorce, or they may want to keep each other in their respective medical insurance plans where one party would be disadvantaged to leave the union.
Proof of Fault
Before January 1, 2016, the Illinois law required that parties filing for separation prove that they did not voluntarily consent to the separation or do anything to trigger it. These days, one can leave the matrimonial home then file a marital separation agreement in Illinois later. There is requisition for proof of fault. However, couples who are legally separated are required to live “separate and apart.” The definition of this term is in most cases left to the judge, but it broadly means the couple does not live as a married duo would. They don’t have to live in separate homes per se, but they will not do those things a married couple does. They will not have conjugal rights, each will fix their own meals, do their laundry, and sleep in separate rooms.
Once the agreement is enforceable, the court may issue order for immediate temporary relief to the needy party that will have money flowing within a few weeks, remove one from an abusive spouse, and protect children from danger if the marriage poses that.
The parties to a separation will be expected by the court to agree on property distribution, but the court will interfere where the agreement is inequitable. When the agreement is concluded, the couple’s marital estate is closed and any assets acquired during this period will be deemed to be individual property. The same applies to debts.
Should you wish to proceed with a legal separation in the state of Illinois, we offer templates and online samples of Marital Separation Agreements that make the process faster and easier for you.
Whether you live in Chicago, Aurora, Joliet, Rockford, Naperville, Springfield or any other city of Illinois, you can use our legal forms easily.