Switch to ADA Accessible Theme
Close Menu
Chicago Divorce Lawyer > Blog > Divorce > “Separation”, “Dissolution”, “Divorce”: Understanding Family Law Terminology In Divorce Cases

“Separation”, “Dissolution”, “Divorce”: Understanding Family Law Terminology In Divorce Cases


The time leading up to ending a marriage can be very tough, and the person seeking the divorce likely has many questions about the ins-and-outs of the divorce process. One of the first things that a person seeking a divorce might encounter are the legal terms for different stages or parts in a divorce. At first glance, these terms – such as separation, dissolution, and divorce – may seem confusing. However, once a person seeking a divorce understands these three key terms, the initial process may seem less daunting.

“Separation” Under Chicago Divorce Law

Legal separation is permitted in Illinois, but it is an option that may not always be used. The option to agree to a legal separation in Illinois is exercised before moving to divorce and dissolution proceedings.. What that means is that when spouses exercise the option to legally separate, they typically live in separate houses from each other and their finances are also kept separate for the purposes of the separation. A legal separation does not mean that the spouses are divorced, which can only be done by a separate divorce process and court order. However, spouses, or a person seeking a divorce can file for divorce after legally separating.

Dissolution and Divorce Under Chicago Divorce Law

Dissolution and divorce generally mean the same thing under Chicago divorce laws. A divorce is the “official” and legal means of ending a marriage between spouses. A divorce in Chicago must be done through a legal proceeding before an Illinois court. Questions about where to file, when to file, and how, are best left to a competent Chicago divorce lawyer, as these elements of a divorce case vary from divorce to divorce. In all divorces, ultimately the court of jurisdiction makes a judgment (called an “order”) which effectively becomes the law of the case and divorce. The judgment outlines the parties’ (former spouses’) rights in the divorce and other terms, such as parenting plans, any maintenance (formerly known as alimony) and child support, and the division of things like any properties, assets, and debts.

Seeking Legal Help: When to Reach Out to a Chicago Divorce Attorney

As noted above, there are many questions a person seeking a divorce might have when they undergo the separation and/or divorce/dissolution process. For example: how long does the process take?; what am I entitled to?; how do I serve my spouse?; which court should I file in?; among many others. These types of questions are best resolved through a consultation with an experienced Chicago divorce lawyer. An experienced Chicago divorce lawyer can help you by first listening to your side of the story in a confidential setting. After getting the facts down, an experienced divorce lawyer can help walk you through the process to know your rights and options, and, importantly, potential next steps. If you are seeking representation for a divorce, or you are interested in confidentially discussing your options with a Chicago divorce lawyer, call Birnbaum, Gelfman, Sharma & Arnoux today for a consultation.



Facebook Twitter LinkedIn