While a divorce permanently ends a marriage, a legal separation allows spouses to live independent of each other both physically and financially. As a legal separation does not terminate the marriage, the parties may not remarry.
Unlike a divorce, the parties must be in agreement on the division of assets and liabilities in order for the court to incorporate that division into an order for legal separation. In most cases, a court can determine disputed issues of allocation of parental responsibilities, parenting time, child support, and maintenance.
In order for the court to declare a couple legally separated, certain conditions must be met, including the following: First, the couple must live physically separate from one other. Second, at least one spouse must be a resident of Illinois for the court to have jurisdiction. Third, in order to allocate parental responsibilities, the children must be a resident of the State of Illinois.
If your spouse has never lived in Illinois, the court can give you a legal separation, however the court may not be able to decide issues like child support and maintenance.