Legal Separation in DuPage County

If you are having trouble in your marriage but you are not ready for the finality of divorce, a legal separation may be an option to consider.

A legal separation is more than just physically separating and living apart. You and your spouse will still be married and cannot marry anyone else, but you will be eligible to have the courts determine rights and settle many of the same issues as if you had divorced — allocation of parental responsibilities and parenting time, child support, and spousal support or maintenance.However, your property will not be divided unless you and your spouse agree and ask the court to do so. You can still get a divorce in the future if you decide to do so, or you may decide to reconcile.

Issues involving legal separation are complex, so if you are considering legal separation or divorce, the experienced and compassionate Illinois family law attorneys at Wolfe & Stec, Ltd., can help. We are committed to providing legal representation of the highest quality, have substantial experience in contested family law matters, and are aggressive in protecting our clients’ rights and assets. At the same time, we focus on preserving relationships, which is often essential for co-parenting when children are involved.

We offer a free initial consultation to discuss your individual situation, so call one of our offices or contact us online today.

What Illinois Law Says on Legal Separation

In Illinois, legal separation is a court-approved status by which separated spouses agree to live independently physically and financially. To get a legal separation, you will have to live in the state for more than 90 days. If you have children, they must live in Illinois for six months before the court can decide custody issues. If your spouse has never lived in Illinois, you can still get a legal separation, but the court may not be able to decide issues like child support and maintenance.

Reasons for legal separations

Legal separations are commonly used for reasons such as the following:

  • One spouse has problems such as substance abuse, mental illness, or major trauma that results in threats to the financial security of the other.  In this case, the legal separation allows the creation of two separate financial estates, where one spouse can control the assets and debts and damage can accumulate in the other estate. Spouses remain married for purposes like insurance and retirement benefits, etc.
  • For divorce cases that drag out for a long time and involve financial deadlines such as taxes, sheltering assets, and avoiding debt, legal separation may allow the couple to receive benefits now and deal with other issues later.
  • You are a couple with religious objections to divorce.
  • You currently don’t qualify for a divorce for reasons such as not having established residency.

Be aware that there are some spouses who try to hide assets to avoid dividing them.  If you’re involved in a legal separation and think your spouse may try to hide marital assets, you should consider converting the legal separation into a divorce so the court can act to protect and preserve marital assets.

Since issues can be complex and separation agreements require a detailed document that depends on the unique circumstances of your marriage situation, it pays to consult an attorney to prevent making mistakes and make sure your rights are protected.


The skilled Illinois legal separation and divorce attorneys at Wolfe & Stec, Ltd. know the laws, the courts and the system to guide you through every aspect of your legal separation. We can make sure you and your children are protected should you later decide to divorce.

Our fundamental success as a law firm has been in building quality relationships with our clients. We are dedicated to personal attention, responsiveness, and accessibility, and we have a long history of success.

Don’t delay. For a free initial consultation with an experienced and compassionate DuPage County lawyer, contact us online or call us today.

Attorney Natalie Stec

Natalie M. Stec, born and raised in Illinois, and earned her Bachelor of Science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Her practice has been concentrated in significant pre and post decree marital and family law cases; including custody, visitation, support, and paternity matters. She has important criminal defense experience in both misdemeanor and felony cases. She is a very dedicated and passionate litigator. [ Attorney Bio ]

Recent Family Law Results

During trial four experts all testified against our client the Judge found it was in the best interest of the child that our client be awarded custody. We have successfully represented clients in numerous child custody cases.

Child Custody

We recently analyzed a case whereby the opposing side was seeking a substantial award of maintenance against our client. After a thorough review of the facts and circumstances and several hearings, our client’s obligation to pay maintenance was limited to two years at half of what his former spouse was seeking.

Alimony (Maintenance/Support)

After our client voluntarily changed employment we were able to obtain a substantial reduction in child support payments. We have also stopped such reductions when representing clients receiving child support.

Child Support
Woodridge Illinois Law Firm

3321 Hobson Road, Suite B
Woodridge, IL 60517
Phone: 630-305-0222

1 North LaSalle Street, Suite 4200
Chicago, IL 60602
Phone: 312-388-7882

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