Sometimes a husband and wife want to live apart but they are not ready to end their marriage. They can live separately without legally formalizing their separation or they can choose to have a legal judgment that provides for each of their rights and responsibilities.
Legal separation is a less extreme remedy than divorce and can provide couples the time and space before making the ultimate decision of whether or not to actually divorce. A legal separation is beneficial especially if there are children and it also lessens the likelihood of disagreements arising moving forward. It is also beneficial in an uncontested divorce or where the parties want to terminate the accrual of marital property.
In Illinois, as long as a husband and wife are living separate and apart, any married couple may obtain a judgment for legal separation. The judgment will contain provisions regarding parental responsibilities, a parenting plan, and child support. The judgment may also provide for a division of assets and debts and maintenance.
Once a couple has legally separated, they may decide to stay that way, reconcile, or pursue a divorce. It is important to note that during the time a couple is legally separated, neither spouse can remarry as they are still married in the eyes of the law.