Law Office of Dawn R. Underhill
When Illinois residents see their marriage coming to an end, they may naturally think there is only one option. However, while the vast majority of marriages end in divorce, some couples choose to go through a legal separation in lieu of or prior to a divorce.
For instance, famed actor Tony Danza recently finalized a divorce with his wife of 26 years. However, while the couple filed for divorce in March 2011, they had been separated since 2006. The couple have two daughters together. Danza also has two children from his first marriage, as well as two grandchildren.
While many individuals have heard of a separation, many may not understand what actually occurs in a separation, and how it differs from a divorce. Unlike a divorce, where the marriage ends, the spouses are still legally married in a separation. However, a court order sets forth the rights and duties of the parties in a legal separation.
Of course, this is in reference to a more permanent form of separation. In a trial separation, by contrast, the spouses may be taking some time to live apart to reassess whether to continue the marriage.
Like in a divorce, the court in a legal separation will set out obligations for spousal and child support, although it is given a different name. Along these lines, child custody and visitation must also be decided in a legal separation, as the parties are not living together.
Finally, like in a divorce, parties who are legally separated may go through a division of property. The marital property will be divided by the couple’s living situation.
Source: LA Times, “Tony Danza’s divorce finalized – finally!,” Christie D’Zurilla, Feb. 8, 2013
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Famed actor divorces from wife years after couple separated