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It can be extremely difficult to know when a marriage is truly over. If a couple has been together for some time, there can be strong feelings and many happy memories that make it hard to break up. Sometimes, a couple gets divorced but then realizes that they still love each other and want to stay together.
If you are considering your options and weighing the possibility of a divorce, it is important to understand what might happen if you and your spouse reconcile after the divorce has been finalized. Also, it may be wise to consider alternatives to divorce, such as legal separation or a postnuptial agreement, that provide legal protection without dissolving the marriage.
Divorce, called "dissolution of marriage" in Illinois, permanently ends the marriage. Once the court issues a divorce decree, it is difficult, and often impossible, to go back and undo the decision. If a divorced couple wishes to get back together, they have the option to remarry. However, in order to remarry, the couple must obtain a new marriage license and go through the marriage process again.
If you are thinking about divorce but need more time before making a final decision, consider getting a legal separation or setting up a postnuptial agreement. Legal separation is similar to divorce but does not dissolve the marriage. When a spouse gets legally separated, they can divide property and debts, decide on a parenting time schedule, ask the court for a child support order, and put other legal protections in place. Property and debt that is accumulated after a legal separation is granted is non-marital property, making legal separation a useful option for spouses who want to stay married but keep finances separate.
Another option is a postnuptial agreement, which is a contract that lays out the rights and responsibilities of each spouse if the marriage ends. This type of agreement does not terminate the marriage, but it can provide a legal framework for financial and other matters if the spouses seek divorce in the future.
Both of these options protect the spouses’ rights and financial interests while they make a decision about whether to proceed with the divorce. If they decide that divorce is the right choice, many of the divorce issues will already be decided upon, making the divorce process much more straightforward.
If the spouses decide to stay together, the marriage will still be intact, and they will not be forced to remarry. If the couple is legally separated, they can ask the court to vacate the separation and resume their lives as a married couple.
If your marriage is on rocky ground and you want to explore your legal options, our skilled DuPage County divorce lawyers can help. Call us today at 630-920-8855 for a free consultation.