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What are the pros or cons for a legal separation vs. divorce.?

Edwardsville, IL |
Filed under: Divorce

Married for 4 yrs, physically seperated for > than 1 year. Both work full-time jobs, Female has daughter 16yrs old , from prev marriage, Husband carries health insurance for wife and this child. Couple has separate homes, prior to marriage. No personal property to divide. What are the chances that the husband should cont to pay insurances, on the grounds of spousal abandonment. Husband physically lived with wife 3 yrs, without any monetary support. Husband is a currently an alchoholic, with a drivers license removal due to alcohol related incident, prev. legal records of alcohol abuse. Husband has removed monies from savings-401k plan without wifes knowledge. Husband refuses to seek assistance/or reconcile/ or verbally cont to refuse divorce. Is there any monetary gain for the wife?

Attorney Answers 3


In a legal separation (which make up, oh, .000001% of Illinois family law disputes), the court has no jurisdiction over marital property (Pension, Car, etc.) WITH the exception of the marital residence. Issues of support and maintenance can be addressed.

And if the court grants the legal separation, you will still be married. So if one of the parties wanted to remarry, they would have to return to court. It is this inconvenience that stops most people from filing for a legal sep - that and generally the ex cross-petitions for dissolution anyway.

Before you do anything, contact a family law attorney in your area for specific guidance.

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A legal separation is most useful when the husband and wife no longer wish to have a "marital relationship" but for other reasons do not wish to legally dissolve their marriage. This is a scenario that applies to very few couples. For the most part, it just makes more sense and is financially more efficient to file for a divorce if the marriage is over. You should consult with a local attorney to review your rights, options and obligations in further detail. Good luck!

You may contact Ms. Brown at 718-878-6886 during regular business hours, or anytime by email at: All of Ms. Brown’s responses to questions posted on AVVO are intended as general information based upon the facts stated in the question, and are provided for educational purposes of the public, not any specific individual, and her response to the question above is not legal advice and it does not create an attorney-client relationship. Ms. Brown is licensed to practice law in New York. If you would like to obtain specific legal advice about this issue, you must contact an attorney who is licensed to practice law in your state.

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One of the most common reasons that a couple would file for legal separation rather than divorce is that most family insurance plans will not allow an exwife or exstep-child to be carried on the exhusband's policy, but insurance can be continued if the parties are legally separated.

You can reach Harkess & Salter LLC at (303) 531-5380 or Stephen Harkess is an attorney licensed in the state and federal courts of Colorado. This answer is for general information only and does not create an attorney client relationship between Stephen Harkess or Harkess & Salter LLC and any person. You should schedule a consultation with an attorney to discuss the specifics of your legal issues.

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1 comment

Gary L. Schlesinger

Gary L. Schlesinger


be careful. some health ins. policies consider a legal separation as a reason to drop a spouse as a dependent. read the policy carefully.

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