We’ve heard it a million times – half of American marriages end in divorce. This statistic still holds true, but divorce also doesn’t have to be the first option for a struggling marriage.
Valentine’s Day is in February, and this month we want to look at alternative ways to move on from a failing marriage while still holding on to the hope that the marriage can eventually heal and rehabilitate. That’s where legal separation comes in.
Legal separation is an alternative to divorce in marriages that appear to be heading to an end. Instead of completely nullifying your marriage, you simply legally separate from your spouse.
When you legally separate, you preserve parts of your marriage, including co-health insurance and married tax filing status. Under a legal separation, you will be able to maintain the comfort and consistency of your current economic situation while working to reconcile your differences or moving on.
Instead of completely ending things, a legal separation moves you in the direction of a divorce without officially ending the marriage. This puts you in a middle ground that makes it easier to get a divorce in the future or to reinstate your marriage altogether.
In a divorce, your marriage completely ends and you are no longer legally dependent on each other in any way aside from child and/or spousal support along with any custody agreements. When you legally separate, you maintain the ability to be legally and financially dependent on each other but can also set boundaries to limit this. Also, you can remarry if you are divorced but cannot remarry while legally separated.
Aside from not entirely terminating your marital status, the process of legal separation can look much the same. You may go through the process of splitting marital assets, establishing child/spousal support, determining child custody, and following any other process a divorce case would necessitate. You can also forgo these and hold off on doing so until you potentially decide to file for divorce.
Legal separation could be your best option for a number of reasons. This is a great option for those couples who are on the fence about getting a divorce and need time and space to consider what’s best for the family. Other common reasons people opt for separation over divorce are religious reasons or concerns over financial stability and health insurance.
If you opt for legal separation, you may not need an attorney as much as you would in a divorce case. However, because you will still go through much of the same legal process, you should retain an attorney to be safe.
Legal separation is cheaper and generally requires less paperwork or time with your attorneys, but an experienced attorney will ensure you don’t lose out on any key points of your separation. Because legal separation could be a predecessor to your divorce, it’s important to obtain representation.
The team at Carroll Law Office has experience handling divorces and legal separations. We understand the difference, and we support Californians who are in need of either case. Contact our team and we will help you simplify life’s complexities.
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