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Divorce vs. Separation: Understanding the Differences

If your marriage is troubled and you are considering your options moving forward, you have likely considered the idea of getting a divorce or legal separation. You might also be wondering what the differences between the two are and which is more suitable for your goals. These are important and valid questions, so before you settle on either one of these options, take a moment to learn more about them and what they could mean for your future.

Legal Separation

When you choose to legally separate from your spouse, the process is actually not that dissimilar compared to the process of filing for a divorce. The key difference in a legal separation is that you will remain married to your spouse. For those who wish to continue to work on their marriage, but no longer want to share a residence, this is could be an ideal course of action.

Much like a divorce, your rights and obligations regarding issues like child support and alimony will still be legally defined. Issues like property division, however, are generally not addressed in a legal separation. If the two of you ultimately decide that the marriage is not worth saving, you can always opt for divorce later on. Given that you will have already addressed some of the more heavily contested issues, such as child custody, child support, and alimony, your divorce will go a little more smoothly.


When spouses legally separate, they do not have to include their reasons for it. On the other hand, when you choose to divorce, the petitioning spouse will have to establish grounds for the divorce, which include:

  • The spouse of the petitioner committed adultery
  • The spouse of the petitioner deserted him or her for at least a year
  • The spouse of the petitioner is a convicted felon
  • The spouse of the petitioner threatened or attempted to kill him or her
  • The spouse of the petitioner is guilty of physical or mental cruelty

These are just some of the grounds on which a divorce must be established. In Illinois, married spouses can seek a divorce based on irreconcilable differences only if they have been separated for at least two years. If the spouses have lived in separate residences for at least six months, the two-year requirement can be waived if both consent to it in writing.

Divorce Attorneys in Illinois

If you and your spouse are considering a legal separation or a divorce, turn to the skilled divorce attorneys at Wakenight & Associates, P.C. in Illinois. Our attorneys understand that this process is often an emotional experience, which is why we are dedicated to providing skilled, knowledgeable, and compassionate representation that protects your interests.

Get started on your case today and call us at any of our convenient locations to schedule a free consultation with one of our experienced divorce attorneys.


Illinois Divorce Attorneys

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Litigation can be complex and even the most amicable of negotiations can go awry. No matter what your case involves, the stakes can be high. If you are dealing with any type of family law issue, then your choice in representation will matter. The team at Wakenight & Associates, P.C. informs you of your options, keeps you involved in the process, and helps you understand your rights. Working with our firm means you will be in the best possible position to make sound, logical decisions that will have a positive impact on your family, your finances, and your future.

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