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Divorce vs. Legal Separation

Couples who have been married a long time or couples who rushed into marriage for one reason or another sometimes need a break to better access the situation and their feelings.

Separating from your spouse does not necessarily require court involvement. However, a legal separation may provide some benefits, such as a temporary spousal support order or child visitation guidelines. You remain legally married while choosing to live separate lives.

Unlike divorce, a legal separation does not put an end to the marriage; it enables you to live separately, but remain married. During the time of separation, you have a court order that outlines the rights and responsibilities of each spouse.

You should take steps to protect yourself – even if you’re unsure if divorce or legal separation is the right decision for you and your marriage. With so many important decisions regarding your home, your financial obligations, and your children that need to be made, separating from your spouse can get messy fast.

If you decide to divorce after your separation and your case goes to court, a judge is likely to assume that since you were satisfied with the separation agreement, the agreement should carry over to the divorce settlement agreement. For that reason, it’s important that you come to a separation agreement you can live with long term.

Although a legal separation and divorce have many issues in common there are some advantages to separating rather than divorcing. Those advantages include:

  • It allows you to be apart – away from the conflict of your marriage
  • It allows you to keep your medical benefits

If you are a military spouse, you may want to remain married for 10 years so you can take advantage of benefits set up by the Uniformed Services Former Spouse Protection Act.

No matter where you are – thinking about divorce or in the middle of the divorce process – and are unsure of the next step, ask a divorce attorney to get answers to your legal questions. If you and your spouse have decided that divorce is your best option, contact Holstrom, Block & Parke to discuss how you should deal with the divorce process, divorce laws, and divorce requirements.

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