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Would I be required to pay spousal support in the event of a separation instead of a divorce?

Chicago, IL |

I am a 32 year old female married to a 50 year old man. We have been married for 3 years. My husband has not worked during our marriage (he quit his job about 4 weeks before we got married). I worked the first 2.5 years and am now unemployed. If I file for a separation instead of a divorce would I be required to pay spousal support? We are in Illinois.

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Attorney answers 3


You might. Family law judges have lots of discretion in how they resolve maintenance and support issues. Your present unemployment is a factor that will lower maintenance.
The history of your past status as the only wage earner suggests you are likely to pay maintenance for at least a short period (that is, IF your husband requests it.) The support issues will not be significantly different whether you are separated or divorce. The main reason for doing a separation in Illinois is the 2-year waiting period for uncontested divorces and the need to cut your partner loose financially in the meantime. Hire a family lawyer so your interests can be protected. I think you are likely to want to file for dissolution of marriage rather separation if you can.

So far, this is free to you. Until you pay a fee, I am not your lawyer and you are not my client, so you take any free advice at your sole risk. I am licensed in IL, MO, TX and am a Reg. Pat. Atty. so advice in any other jurisdiction is general advice and should be confirmed with an attorney licensed in that jurisdiction.


The answer to your question lies in the details of your marriage as well as the attitude of the court and attorneys. We cannot absolutely answer this question and I urge you to consult with a family law practitioner in your area. The bigger question is why yo are seeking a legal separation rather than a divorce. If you want to separate, you are free to do that without a court order. If there is a particular reason that you think a separation will be beneficial, you need to examine the legal consequences of this proceeding. Therefore, once again, I urge you to seek the services of an attorney in your area who is well versed in family law. Good luck.


You should probably be thinking of divorce and not a legal separation. What are your reasons for seeking a separation and not divorce? Do you have an income? You would need income in order to be ordered to pay support. I would need more facts.

For informational purposes only. Not legal advice.

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