What exactly does it mean to be living separate from your spouse?

Aug 14, 2020 | Divorce

Your marriage is over, and you want a divorce. You have no particular desire to drag the process out — and neither does your spouse.

Under Illinois law, you only have to live “separate and apart” from each other for six months to get a divorce based on irreconcilable differences. However, economic conditions may force you and your spouse to share living quarters for a while — even once the divorce is final.

Does it matter? Here’s what you need to know:

1. You can live in the same house

As long as you divide the space in some way so that you are separate, that’s still enough to be considered “separate and apart.”

What does that look like? Maybe your spouse moves into the spare room or starts sleeping in their home office. As long as you’re living essentially independent lives, that’s enough.

2. It helps to agree on your separation date

If you both want to move forward, you need to come to an agreement (if possible) about your separation date. Maybe it was the moment that you uttered the words “I want a divorce.” Maybe it came a month or two later when your spouse moved into the spare bedroom.

3. Short attempts at reconciliation don’t have to restart the clock

After a glass of wine or two, fond memories of the past made you and your spouse briefly optimistic that you could reconcile — but you quickly realized that was a mistake. The clock on the six-month separation doesn’t have to start over again as long as you both still agree that you were never really “back together.”

Divorce is hard — but it’s easier when you have an experienced representative by your side. Find our more about your divorce options.