Is a Legal Separation Right For You?

Illinois family lawyerSometimes, couples opt for a long-term separation rather than a divorce. If you are unsure of which option is right for you, it is important to understand the true definition of a long-term separation as well as the pros and cons it offers.

What Is a Long-Term Separation?

A divorce puts an end to a marriage while a long-term separation does not. If you decide to separate rather than divorce your spouse for a long period of time, you will live separately but continue to be legally married.

During your time living apart, you and your spouse will have to follow a court order that outlines each of your rights and responsibilities. The court order will cover division of marital assets, child custody, spousal support and other issues that are addressed in a divorce.

Pros of a Long-Term Separation

Medical Benefits

If you are relying on your spouse’s medical benefits, a divorce would bring them to an end. In a long-term separation, you’d be able to continue receiving those benefits.

Keeping the Marital Home

It may not make financial sense to sell your marital home. Since this often occurs during a divorce, a separation can allow you to keep your marital home and not worry about the housing market or other issues.

Income Tax Benefits

If you are separated, you can still take advantage of income tax benefits and raise your deductions or tax credits.

Social Security Benefits

If you have been legally married for 10 years, you may receive a share of one another’s retirement benefits.

Adhering to a Religion

In some religions, divorce is looked down upon. If you would like to adhere to your religious beliefs, long-term separation over divorce may be right for you.

Cons of a Long-Term Separation

No Fresh Start

If you are hoping for a fresh start, a separation may make it difficult for you to receive one. Since you will still technically be married, you dating may be a challenge.


A long-term separation will not allow you to remarry if that is something you wish to do in the future. If you picture remarriage in your future, it makes sense to file for divorce.

Financial Independence

You will continue to share finances with your spouse if you are separated. If you are seeking financial independence, a separation may not be the ideal option.

Contact an Experienced DuPage County Divorce Attorney

If you are unsure of whether a long-term separation is right for you, reach out to our experienced Hinsdale divorce attorneys. We will further explain the pros and cons and help you make a smart decision for your future. Call us today at 630-920-8855.


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