Divorce and legal separation are both processes married couples can use in Illinois to bring their relationship to an end. While they share some similarities, they are not the same and have very different outcomes. The fundamental difference between the two is that divorce legally ends the marriage, but legal separation does not. While you can pursue divorce and legal separation on your own, hiring an experienced lawyer can help streamline the process and avoid costly legal mistakes.
Divorce is a final, legally binding order that completely ends a marriage. Under Illinois law, in a divorce, all assets must be divided. Issues like child support, child custody, and spousal maintenance must be legally settled by a court or by mediation.
Depending on how complicated the divorce is, finalizing everything can take as little as 45 days but can also take many years. The cost of the divorce also depends on how complicated or contentious the issues are. When spouses cannot agree, the court will have to intervene and make decisions for them. This requires attorneys for both parties, filing fees, and sometimes other professionals like custody evaluators or guardians ad litem. Accordingly, the cost of divorce can reach into the hundreds of thousands....