Can my husband and I be separated indefinitely?

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Can my husband and I be separated indefinitely?

I left my husband a couple of years ago and moved out of state (I’m in IL now but married in MA). It was somewhat mutual but we didn’t want to file for divorce – we just wanted time apart. It wasn’t a legal separation, just a verbal. Can we remain separated indefinitely or do we eventually have to divorce or arrange some other legal situation? We haven’t talked in a long time and I’m not on his health care or anything or vice versa, but I wondered if leaving the marriage constituted abandonment or something like that.

Asked on November 12, 2010 under Family Law, Massachusetts

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Illinois is one of the states that has maintained all their "fault based" grounds for divorce (like willful desert ion or as you call it: abandonment) while adding "no fault" grounds (like irreconcilable differences).   Willful desertion or absence from the petitioner (that would be your husband) for one year is a ground for divorce.  You can live in your limbo state forever but I would not really recommend it.  Even though you fel that you are no longer connected - health insurance plan is an example - you are legally. And so if you buy a house - even if it is on your name only - that could still be marital property as the money you are earning is still marital property.  See? You need to seek legal counsel in your area on your options here. The results of living like this can be far reaching.  Good luck.


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