Apr 23, 2014 | Divorce


Headlining the most recent celebrity news magazines is the story of the split of Gwyneth Paltrow and husband, Chris Martin of Coldplay. Having been married for over a decade, and sharing two children, the couple publicly announced their split this March, referring to the split as a “conscious uncoupling.” In common terminology, the couple is separating rather than divorcing. But what’s the difference?

To sum it up, the primary difference is that a couple who chooses to forego the divorce option and remain separated is still legally married. This means that they cannot remarry until they obtain a legal divorce. Aside from this prohibition, the spouses function very much the same as if they had obtained a divorce. Legally separated couples are free to seek child custody, arrange for visitation, and petition for child support or spousal support, just as if they were divorced. In order for separated couples to make custodial and support arrangements, they must do so formally with a court order, just as divorced spouses would do. The following steps outline what an Illinois resident must do in order to obtain a legal separation:

1. You must have lived in Illinois for more than 90 days.

2. The parties seeking separation must be living apart at the time of filing with the court.

3. The spouse seeking the separation must prove that he or she is not at fault in causing the separation (Examples of being at fault include adultery or spousal abandonment.).

4. You must formally serve your spouse with notice of the separation.


The option to separate is commonly selected by those who may not desire divorce for religious reasons, or by those who simply are not ready to commit to a legal dissolution of the marriage. For more information on legal separations, feel free to contact The Law Office of Bradley R. Tengler in Rockford, IL at 815-981-4859 for a free consultation. Please note, the above does not constitute legal advice. Please discuss your specific rights with an attorney in your own jurisdiction.