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Can a Trial Separation Lead to Divorce in Illinois?

Posted on in Divorce

DuPage County divorce attorneysMaking the decision to legally terminate a marriage is a big step. For some people, it might be daunting to think of being single again, especially if they have been married for a long time. There are options that a couple can take if they are not ready to split up permanently. A trial separation is an informal agreement between two spouses that they will live apart for a period of time. Unlike a legal separation, a trial separation is not a legally binding contract, but in both situations, the pair is technically still married in the eyes of the law. In some instances, the married couple may choose to seek counseling to work out their problems during the separation. They may even reconcile and move back in with each other. However, some couples may decide to get a divorce after they are separated. 

Factors to Consider During a Separation

A trial separation begins as soon as one of the spouses moves out of the marital home. This means he or she will have to find a new place to live, whether it be temporary or long term. A couple can decide on the terms of their agreement, which can be flexible since it is not an official legal arrangement. This allows both partners to explore options regarding child-related and marital issues in the event of a divorce later on. 

Some of the important factors to consider in the short and long term following a separation include the following:

  • Rent and/or mortgage payments
  • Household or incidental expenses (food, toiletries, extracurricular activities)
  • Parenting time (visitation)
  • Child support
  • Allocation of parental responsibilities (child custody)
  • Spousal support (alimony)
  • Setting an end date for the separation period

A trial separation can help you understand how a legal separation or an actual divorce may affect your family as well as your finances. With a temporary separation, a couple may decide their feelings for each other are still strong enough to make them want to work on the marriage. In other scenarios, one or both spouses may realize they are better off apart.  

Illinois Dissolution of Marriage Law

Illinois is a “no-fault” state, meaning that neither party has to prove that the other person did something wrong to cause the breakdown of the marriage. The only grounds for divorce in Illinois is “irreconcilable differences.” This means that the union is considered beyond repair, even after concerted efforts to salvage the relationship. 

Under Illinois law, there is no requirement for spouses go through a trial separation before getting divorced. However, if one spouse refuses to acknowledge that the marriage is beyond repair, the court will accept a six-month period of living separate and apart as proof of irreconcilable differences.

Contact a DuPage County Family Law Attorney

Deciding to divorce is a major life decision; therefore, it should be carefully considered. Depending on the circumstances, some couples may opt for a trial or legal separation before determining their best option is to legally end their marriage. If you and your spouse are considering a divorce, it is important to know your options and rights. At Anderson & Associates, our accomplished Wheaton divorce lawyers have handled many types of divorce cases, from amicable to complex to contested. Call our office today at 630-653-9400 to schedule an initial consultation. 





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