Wakeman Law Group, PC Legal Blog

Do you have to live in separate houses to get a divorce in Illinois?

On Behalf of | Sep 15, 2023 | Divorce

The decision to begin living separately is often a crucial relationship milestone on the road to either genuine reconciliation or divorce. For some couples, separation on the road to divorce begins when one spouse moves out of the marital home and acquires their own apartment.

However, the cost of living has been on the rise in recent years, and a quick and affordable relocation isn’t always a realistic expectation when family circumstances start shifting. Many people who desire a divorce or legal separation cannot afford to immediately move out and begin maintaining a separate household.

Separation can take place in the same home

Contrary to what people often believe, separation for the purpose of divorce in Illinois does not inherently require someone to move to a different address. It is fully possible for the spouses planning to divorce to separate while technically still cohabitating.

Separation when sharing the same home would involve sleeping in separate beds, ideally in separate rooms. Spouses will also have to cease having marital relations with each other as part of that separation while technically living together. Usually, spouses will need to be in agreement about the fact that they have actually separated and are not just sleeping separately due to temporary hiccups in the marital relationship. Some people find that having a written separation agreement can reduce the conflict involved in separating while living together while also clarifying the expectations of each spouse for the future.

Compromise is often necessary during divorce

Although people would typically prefer to move out and start living a separate life as soon as possible during an Illinois divorce, that is not always the most realistic approach. Those who can compromise with their spouse will often find that the transition from unhappily married to satisfactorily divorced will be much smoother when they work cooperatively.

Cohabitating during divorce can certainly create its own unique challenges, but the decision to continue living together does not automatically preclude moving forward with divorce proceedings. With that said, those who need to navigate this situation can generally benefit from seeking legal guidance proactively.