If you are at the point where your marriage in Illinois is not working out, you may be considering getting a divorce or a marriage dissolution. In some instances, however, a couple wishes to cease living together without going to the full extent of ending the marriage. In such cases, a legal separation may be the path you choose to pursue.
Unlike in a divorce or dissolution, which distributes assets based on what is determined to be personal property and marital property, a legal separation does not involve any property distribution as a default. It is, however, possible for property to be divided if the spouses follow the proper court procedures.
What the division of assets in a legal separation entails
The Illinois State Legislature states that should the court approve a request for a property settlement agreement, it maintains the same permanence as a ruling in a divorce hearing. It will be non-modifiable. The court may choose to disapprove a property settlement agreement between you and your spouse if it finds it to be unconscionable.
How to get a property settlement agreement through legal separation
The court is not allowed to allocate or even value any of your property during a legal separation unless you and your spouse provide it with a signed property settlement agreement. In order for this agreement to be valid, both parties must request that the court incorporate it into the final judgment of legal separation. Do keep in mind that should you at a later date decide to proceed with a full dissolution of your marriage, property and spousal maintenance will be decided de novo.