It can be confusing to decide whether you should get a divorce or legal separation. Most people use the terms interchangeably, thinking they serve the same purpose. However, that is not true, and there are some key differences between the two legal options. To make an informed decision, it is essential to understand the emotional effects and legalities of each possibility.
What is Divorce?
Divorce refers to the complete dissolution of a marriage. It involves ending all legal responsibility, obligations, and matrimonial bonds or duties between the spouses. After divorce, each partner can legally remarry anytime.
What is Legal Separation?
Legal separation refers to living separately from your partner for a certain period while still being married to them. It is granted through a court order that assigns the duties and rights of a couple during the time of separation. Mostly, legal separation is given as a second chance for couples to improve their relationship and rethink their decision of dissolving their marriage.
Understanding the Similarities and Differences
Legal separation and divorce are similar in many ways. Both a legal separation and a divorce allow spouses to live apart from each other. Legal matters such as child support, child custody, spousal support, and division of assets and debts, are all decided by the court. Both options create financial rules and boundaries for each spouse.
One of the most significant differences between the two options is that in a legal separation, you are still married to your spouse, must indicate on all forms that you are in a marital relationship, and are not allowed to remarry. In a divorce, on the other hand, your marriage is officially ended, you can move forward with your life as a single person, and can remarry anytime you want. If a child is born during a legal separation, the child is legally considered to belong to the couple, unless proven otherwise. Moreover, both spouses still have the right to inherit assets and property from each other.
Why Do Couples Consider Getting a Legal Separation Rather than a Divorce?
There are several logical reasons why couples would prefer getting legally separated over divorce. Some of them are:
- You and your spouse will get a tax benefit if you remain married.
- You and your spouse want to live separately but cannot divorce each other because of religious restraints.
- Both of you want some time off from one another to think over the possibility of continuing to spend your lives together as a married couple.
- One spouse may want to continue receiving insurance or healthcare benefits, which is only possible if you remain married.
- Both of you think negotiating a separation agreement is less stressful than negotiating a divorce agreement.
- Your state’s residency requirements render you ineligible to file for a divorce, but you and your spouse don’t want to live together. In such a case, getting a legal separation will be a viable option.
Whether you want to get a divorce or legal separation, you should have a divorce attorney by your side to help you understand the process and provide skilled legal counsel. Contact Casement Group, P.C. today at (847) 888-9300 for a free consultation with an experienced and reliable attorney.