Sep 16, 2020

Legal Separation vs. Divorce: The Difference

Legal Separation vs. Divorce: The Difference

Whether you and your spouse are planning on separating but working together or separating and completely disconnecting from one another, you should understand the difference between a legal separation and a divorce. We’re going to help you determine which path is best for you in the following guide—read on to learn more.

Legal Separation

Legal separation and divorce share several similarities, but one fact is certain: in legal separation, the couple remains married. Legal separation offers several benefits. First, most couples find that their partner holds the insurance. In legal separation, both individuals can benefit from this insurance. Second, decision-making in a legal separation typically requires both parties involved unless a judge orders otherwise. Because the couple isn’t divorced, their partner would remain next of kin, meaning they can make medical, financial, and other important decisions on their spouse’s behalf if necessary. Remaining married has tax benefits, too. Additionally, many individuals disavow divorce for personal or religious reasons, so legal separation provides a loophole. The best part about legal separation is that it’s reversible, so if you and your spouse reach reconciliation, you can dissolve the order and return to marriage as normal.


As you might suspect, divorce is essentially the opposite of legal separation. Once you’re legally divorced, you’re free to remarry, whereas you cannot remarry during legal separation. Because divorce is a permanent decision, it’s generally recommended that couples attempt legal separation first. Despite losing property rights, insurance, and financial factors, sometimes divorce is necessary if the couple has irreconcilable differences. If you’re choosing to divorce, it’s always best to consider your options, as there are more options than a contested divorce. Alternatives such as mediation and collaborative divorce are much faster and cost less in the long run.

Now that you understand the differences between legal separation and divorce, you can hopefully make a better separation decision going forward. Although choosing separation or a divorce is a decision nobody plans to make, it’s crucial that you make the right choice. If you need guidance, it’s best to consult with an attorney.

The attorneys at Schiller DuCanto & Fleck take pride in offering top-quality legal services for our clients. Whether you’re looking for assistance with separation agreements, alimony, child support, mediation, or collaborative divorce in Illinois, our attorneys are prepared to represent you. To set up an appointment, contact our team today; we look forward to working with you.

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