When Is Legal Separation A Better Choice Than Divorce?
Is it possible to get legally separated instead of a divorce? As a divorce lawyer can explain, the majority of states do allow for legal separation, although it is not necessarily a commonly used process. A legal separation agreement must be filed with the court, and it will state that spouses will live separately from one another, both physically and financially. This is different from just physical separation, and it does not legally terminate a couple’s marriage. The spouses will remain married and cannot enter into another marriage without first getting divorced.
If you are contemplating legal separation, we recommend speaking with a knowledgeable divorce lawyer who can walk you through the process and discuss the pros and cons and how they apply in your situation.
Legal separation is primarily a technical term and differs from physical separation, which refers to a couple’s decision to live apart. A legal separation agreement can include decisions between spouses regarding a variety of factors, including parenting time, spousal support, parental responsibilities, and child support. The court cannot divide your property unless it is something you specifically request and both spouses have consented to the property division.
Benefits of Legal Separation Versus Divorce
One of the main reasons people opt to file for legal separation as opposed to divorce is because it allows them time to decide if they wish to reconcile. Some people really want to avoid divorce if possible, and a legal separation may give them the time apart they need. Even if they do opt to file for divorce down the line, most of the major issues have likely been negotiated in the legal separation phase, which makes for a smoother and less expensive divorce.
Another reason some couples want to remain married is in order to retain certain benefits. Perhaps there is medical insurance under one spouse, and the other has major health issues where access to medical insurance coverage is important. In these cases, you will want to speak with your insurance provider to ensure that you will still be eligible for coverage under the policy.
There are also couples who decided to file for a legal separation because they have decided they no longer want to live together or be married, but their religion does not allow them to divorce. A legal separation allows them to have the independent life each of the spouses desires yet still be welcomed in their religious communities.
Contact a Family Law Firm for Legal Assistance
If you are considering ending your marriage, but are not sure if you are ready to file for a divorce or a legal separation, you want a skilled divorce lawyer advocating for you. Call an experienced attorney, like a divorce lawyer from a law firm like The Law Office of Daniel E. Stuart, P.A.