You can ¨separate¨ for a while and decide later to make it permanent or work toward reconciliation. This is between you and your spouse. But there might be legal issues that might arise later. When you estimate that this status might be for a while you might want to clarify a few agreements. It might also be preferable that it is in writing so that you can refer to it if something happens later on.

Legal Separation

Legal separation can be court approved. It allows you to define legal enforceable rights and obligations. You do not have to permanently end the marriage and complete a legal divorce.

It is usually initiated by couples that have decided to live separately but do not wish to divorce. It usually has to do with keeping the same agreements they already have. It might be regarding properties, financials, tax incentives, child support and custody.

What the legal separation does is it simplifies enforcement of these rights should a dispute arise, changes occur in the status, the health of a spouse, his financials, his death and having to deal with his/her heirs, etc.

If you think you should properly have your separation legally approved, you will be better of with the help of a lawyer and there are children involved, more specifically with a family lawyer.


State courts usually require that most of what is usually covered in a divorce be addressed. The purpose is that it is considered a pending divorce. So it must address:

  • Property division and debt, including defining if they continue to be marital property or separate property (some state do have laws that address the continuity issue).
  • Child custody, support and visitation;
  • spousal support;
Telling the children

This is a delicate issue. In the case of a separation without an official divorce, it is more a psychological issue. This site doesn’t really address that issue.

Nevertheless, the following video will give you an insight of what is coming


You can search for a Divorce Lawyer near you with the following search box.

Example of search: ¨Divorce Lawyer near Chicago¨ or ¨Family Lawyer near Chicago¨