Illinois Legal Separation: What are the benefits of legal separation over divorce?

Understanding Legal Separation in Illinois

In Illinois, a legal separation is an alternative to divorce that allows married couples to live apart while remaining legally married. Legal separation can be the right choice for couples who are considering ending their marriage but are not ready or do not wish to completely dissolve their union. This article will explore the benefits of legal separation over divorce in Illinois.

Financial Benefits

One of the primary benefits of legal separation is the financial aspect. Couples who opt for legal separation may continue to enjoy the benefits of filing joint tax returns, which can lead to significant tax savings. Additionally, one spouse may be able to remain on the other's health insurance plan, which is particularly beneficial if individual coverage would be costly or if a spouse has pre-existing medical conditions.

Religious and Moral Considerations

For some couples, religious beliefs or moral convictions may preclude them from pursuing a divorce. Legal separation allows these individuals to live independently without violating their personal principles or doctrines.

Maintaining Family Stability

Legal separation can provide a semblance of family stability, especially for children. Unlike divorce, legal separation does not permanently alter the family structure, which can be less disruptive for children. Parents may also use this time to transition gradually into co-parenting roles while providing a stable environment for their children.

Time for Reconciliation

Couples may choose legal separation as a means of taking a step back from their marital issues without severing their legal bond. This period of separation can serve as valuable time for reflection and potential reconciliation without the finality of divorce.

The Legal Process

Similar to divorce proceedings, legal separation in Illinois involves a legal process where issues such as spousal support, child custody, and property division are addressed. However, since the marriage is not dissolved, decisions made during a legal separation can be revisited and modified if the couple decides to reconcile or eventually proceed with a divorce.

Historical Reference

The concept of legal separation has evolved over time in response to society's changing views on marriage and divorce. In Illinois, legal separations have been granted since the early 1900s, providing an alternative for couples who were unable or unwilling to obtain a divorce due to societal pressures or legal restrictions of that era.


Legal separation in Illinois presents various benefits over divorce for couples facing marital difficulties. It offers financial advantages, respects religious and moral values, maintains family stability during challenging times, and provides space for potential reconciliation. While it may not be the best solution for everyone, it is an important option for those seeking an alternative to divorce.