Does Living Separate and Apart But Under One Roof Constitute a Legal Separation in Illinois?

Oct 6, 2020 | Divorce

According to Illinois law, before a divorce (dissolution of marriage) can be entered by the court, a couple must live separate and apart for a minimum of six months.

Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act

“The court shall enter a judgement of dissolution of marriage…If the parties live separate and apart for a continuous period of not less than 6 months immediately preceding the entry of the judgement dissolving the marriage”.

In the midst of the nation’s current recession, purchasing a new residence in order to live separately from a spouse is simply not in the cards for many individuals. Questions might arise whether couples are permitted to live separate and apart under one roof.

Does living separately in one residence constitute ‘separate and apart’ under Illinois law?

Living separate and apart in the same household during your separation period is, in fact, permitted under Illinois law. In this situation, a couple might sleep in different bedrooms. They may also decide to live out of different areas of the home, such as one individual living in the basement. Despite residing at the same address, living separate and apart under one roof meets the requirements for being granted an Illinois divorce.

Under Illinois law, do spouses have to agree on the initial separation date?

An agreed upon separation date is irrelevant in an Illinois divorce. As long as both parties agree that the beginning of their separation was at least six months prior to the date their divorce is entered, a couple will be granted a divorce.

Does a failed attempt at reconciliation interfere with a separation date?

An attempt to reconcile your marriage will not count against you in meeting the six-month separation requirement. For example, if one party was unfaithful, and a failed attempt to reconcile occurs during your separation period, this will not push back the separation date. You can stick with the initial agreed upon separation date.

Contact an experienced family law lawyer

As the future remains uncertain for many, it is important to contact an experienced family lawyer to ensure your proceedings occur efficiently. Located in Rockford, Illinois, Law Office of Bradley R. Tengler, P.C. handles legal matters throughout the surrounding areas. We take a proactive approach in resolving our clients’ legal matters and ensure that a skilled attorney is on your side. For a free initial consultation, contact our firm by calling 815-515-4168.