Deciding whether to get a divorce or file for legal separation can be a difficult decision. The only way to make a choice is to clearly understand the emotional and legal consequences of both the possibilities and weigh the pros and cons of each. In many ways, the effects of legal separation and divorce can be the same. Whether you opt for a divorce or get legally separated, you should be aware that it will create a space between you and your spouse. This means that legally, you will live separately, finances will be separated and the court will also order child support, child custody, division of marital debts and assets along with spousal support (referred to as alimony in a divorce).
In a nutshell, getting separated legally or divorcing can create a major division in your life and will also create financial boundaries and rules that you will have to live by. The primary difference between the two is that when you divorce, it means that your marriage has formally ended and you are no longer married to your spouse. You have the option to remarry and can start living your life as a single person. However, when you go for a marital separation agreement, you are still legally married to your spouse, which means that you both can still inherit from each other. In addition, a child born to a married woman will legally be your spouse’s child as well unless you prove it otherwise.
Choosing between a divorce and a legal separation is usually a matter of preference. Some people have personal or religious beliefs that stop them from considering the possibility of divorce. They opt for getting legally separated as this enables them to stay married while living completely separate lives. When you are legally separated, your relationship continues to some extent so you are still connected with each other.
Moreover, a legal separation also offers certain benefits to both parties such as pensions and Social Security payments that are given to surviving spouses. In a number of cases, a marital separation is a stopping point on the way to divorce. With this agreement, couples are able to resolve the important issues in their lives such as finances and custody while keeping the marriage intact and giving them enough time to determine what they want. The best part of a legal separation is that it can be reversed, but this is not an option when you get a divorce.
Legal separation is also better with kids because you are still married and it is not as devastating as divorce. Apart from that, marital separation is a requirement in certain states before you can get a divorce. Couples have to wait for six months or a year and live separately during this time before they are eligible for divorce. In other states, this agreement can become grounds for a divorce. Therefore, it is best to check out the requirements in your state. For instance, you can consult an attorney to find out more about California separation agreement if that’s where you reside. All issues can be resolved when a separation agreement is created.