A legal separation might be the option for you if you feel your marriage is coming to an end but are not considering having a divorce due to various reasons. Both are two completely separate legal processes.
A divorce formally ends the marriage, returning the former spouses to single status. However, through a legal separation, you assert your desire to live apart while remaining married.
The court will order for division of debts, property, custody of children and spousal support obligations. We take a look at some of the reasons why speaking to a legal separation lawyer might be the right choice for you.
You Are Still Undecided
A legal separation is a good way for couples who are undecided if they want a divorce. You and your partner may choose to live apart while reassessing the relationship. If you decide to reconcile the legal separation can be reversed. There will be no need to get remarried as technically the marriage never ended.
For The Sake Of The Children
Children feel overwhelmed when their parents go through a divorce. You and your partner may want to protect your kids from emotional stress, especially if they are still young. You may choose to legally separate first and wait to get a divorce at a later time when they are a little older and ready to understand.
Religion Discourages Divorce
A divorce might not be an option for you due to your religious beliefs. In such cases, a legal separation may be the only way for the couples involved to conform to their religion and at the same time move on with living their lives separately.
Some states require a lengthy period of separation for couples prior to filing a divorce. Couples in Nevada for example are required to wait for one year before being allowed to file for divorce. In such cases, a legal separation is a good alternative. It can also be a cooling-off period for couples to resolve issues such as asset and property disputes.
Entitlement To Benefits
A divorce could end your entitlement to certain benefits such as health insurance coverage from your partner’s job and social security. However, through legal separation, you are still entitled to these benefits. You and your spouse can also enjoy tax benefits by continuing to file taxes jointly.
To Separate Property
Just like in a divorce, a legal separation divides the couple’s debts and assets. Assets and debts accumulated will be treated as separate property. Unless it is a jointly owned asset such as a joint account.
Divorce and legal separation are both valid options to consider when you are in a failing marriage. Couples can get legal clarity on many issues during this time and also reap the benefits similar to divorce orders. However, it is important to determine your state’s laws as not all states offer legal separation as an option. Take the time to consider the points above before deciding if it is the best option for you.