Individuals choose legal separation for various reasons, including religious beliefs, a desire to keep their family together, or because they do not want to go through with a divorce. When it comes time to determining if legal separation or divorce is your best option, it would be beneficial to understand the differences as well as the benefits of each.
What Is Legal Separation?
Legal separation does not terminate your marriage like divorce. If one party wishes to proceed with a divorce after a period of legal separation, this is as option. Many couples decide to legally separate for religious reasons, health insurance concerns, or to spend time apart to determine if they want to move forward with getting a divorce.
A legal separation will also go over the same issues as a divorce agreement will, including property division, spousal support, child custody, and child support.
How Is Legal Separation Different from Divorce?
When you obtain a divorce, you are asking to end your marriage. When you obtain a legal separation, you are still married but choose to live separately and apart from your spouse. You cannot remarry while you are legally separated.
Pros and Cons of Legal Separation and Divorce
If you do not want to enter a final divorce decree and end your marriage, then legal separation would be the way to go. The pros of legal separation include the following:
- Remain married
- Live separately and apart from your spouse
- Gives you time to determine if you want to get divorced
- Allows you to stay married for personal reasons, including religious beliefs, concerns over health insurance, and more
- Covers matters including property division, spousal support, child support, and child custody
- File joint tax returns
The pros of divorce include the following:
- Allows you to dissolve your marriage
- Provides you with more independence as you no longer need to keep your spouse on your health insurance plan
- Lets you move forward with your life and remarry if you wish
- Creates a final divorce decree that determines how property division, spousal support, child support, and child custody will work
The cons of a legal separation include the fact that you cannot remarry. Additionally, if you were to die, your spouse would inherit your assets an vice versa, although this can be changed in a will or trust.
The cons of a divorce might include the fact that it is permanent. If you and your spouse are not certain about getting divorced and go through with it, you might find yourselves in a difficult situation. Additionally, if you both received benefits from filing a joint tax return, this will also go away as you need to file as “single” on your tax paperwork once divorced.
If you need assistance navigating your divorce or legal separation, our team of experienced lawyers can help. Contact us online to schedule a consultation.