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How are Divorce, Legal Separation, and Annulment Different in Illinois?

DuPage County Family Law Attorneys Help Explain Separation Options

When you are examining various methods of separation between you and your spouse, it is important to know the differences between your options. Before acting, it is important that you speak to an experienced attorney. At Mirabella, Kincaid, Frederick & Mirabella, LLC, we can help you determine which route is best for your situation.


A divorce is a complete termination of a marriage, which leads to what is called a judgment for "dissolution of marriage." This process addresses all of the issues between former spouses, such as parenting time for any children you may have, other parental responsibilities, who will be paying child support, distribution of any debts or assets you share together, and if one of you will have to pay maintenance to your spouse.

Legal Separation

The main difference between divorce and legal separation is that a separation does not dissolve the marriage. In order to perform a legal separation, you and your spouse must be living apart from one another. You and your spouse can fill out a legal separation agreement to determine the allocation of parental duties or payments such as child support or maintenance, although if you cannot agree on these matters, a judge may make decisions for you. Property cannot be divided unless you and your spouse have agreed on how to do so.


An annulment may be available if you can show that your marriage should not have gone forward. Illinois law refers to annulment as an "invalidity of marriage." A marriage may be declared invalid if there was a lack of consent due to mental incapacity or being under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol, if a spouse was underage (16 or 17 years old) and did not have the consent of their parents, or if one spouse was physically unable to consummate the marriage and the other spouse was not aware of this issue. Marriages may also be annulled if they were legally prohibited, such as when the spouses were related to each other.

Contact Our Wheaton, IL Family Lawyers

At Mirabella, Kincaid, Frederick & Mirabella, LLC, we have have been assisting with family law and divorce cases since 1949. If you live in DuPage County, Kendall County, or Kane County, contact us to set up an initial consultation for any questions you may have. You can reach our Wheaton, Illinois, office at 630-665-7300 for more information.

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St. Charles, IL 60174
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From our law office in Wheaton, IL the family law and civil litigation law attorneys of Mirabella, Kincaid, Frederick and Mirabella, represent businesses and individual clients throughout the western suburbs of Chicago, Illinois including Wheaton, Naperville, Oak Brook, Glen Ellyn, Carol Stream, Lombard, Downers Grove, Burr Ridge, Lisle, Elmhurst, Oakbrook Terrace, Winfield, Woodridge, Warrenville and throughout DuPage, Kane and Kendall Counties.

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In honor of the passing of our founder, Joseph F. Mirabella, Jr., our offices are closed Friday, January 31, 2020.I Agree

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