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Legal Separation

These practice area statements are provided by the attorneys from Murphy & Dunn and represent their thoughts on practicing law over the past 36 years in family law. They are not legal advice. They are a general overview of the law, with specific statutes cited for your review, and opinions on how they generally apply in divorce cases in Illinois. Each and every case is different.

To learn more, and to see if the attorneys and staff at Murphy & Dunn, P.C. can help you, please visit our Contact page to schedule your free initial consultation.

Our team of Peoria and Bloomington family law attorneys is well-known and respected as the best family law practice throughout Central Illinois, with extensive experience in legal separation and annulment cases. We offer FREE initial consultations to review your current situation and potential path to a favorable resolution.


The law in Illinois offers legal separation as an alternative to divorce if you wish to live separate and apart from your spouse and receive reasonable support. The law also provides specific grounds to have your marriage declared invalid (known as an annulment). Both of these legal options are relatively uncommon. However, the family law attorneys of Murphy & Dunn, P.C. are able to assist you with both legal separation and annulment choose those options be available.

A legal separation is more than just moving out of the house. It is a financial vehicle to provide for support between spouses, be that either maintenance or child support. It could possibly involve addressing the same issues addressed in a divorce, including division of property, child support, child custody, visitation, and spousal support, but the parties have to agree and request the Court address property type issues. Otherwise, it is only a financial support option.

One difference between a legal separation and a divorce is that the two parties remain officially married if they enter into a legal separation. You cannot legally remarry after a legal separation. An annulment is voiding your marriage based on very specific grounds. A legal separation may make sense for couples whose religious beliefs preclude divorce.

For further information, please fill out our Contact Us form, e-mail us at, or call us at 309.674.5551 to schedule your free initial office consultation at either of our two convenient office locations.