Deciding between legal separation and divorce is usually a hard choice to make. There are a lot of factors that you need to take into consideration and be aware of. Below is a list of typical reasons that couples usually choose legal separation, divorce, or both. You need to be aware that each situation is unique and involves complicated legal questions. An attorney is best prepared to assist you with the legal matters concerning legal separation and divorce.
Reasons for Legal Separation
- Doubt: When a couple is uncertain they want to dissolve their marriage, a legal separation can be a good place to start. If the couple decides to reunite soon or sometime in the future, a legal separation may be overturned, but it is not the same concerning a divorce. With legal separation, it isn’t required to get married again since a divorce never took place.
- Religion or Personal Preference: For many couples, a legal separation is more appropriate when none of the two plans to remarry down the road, or they just don’t want to get divorced. Many times, couples decide on separation since they want to live separately but want to retain the covenant vows made when they got married.
- Children: The thought of a divorce is usually difficult for children. Many parents decide to legally separate and delay their divorce until the children are grown or until their family is better prepared to handle the considerable lifestyle changes following a divorce.
- Necessary Division: Couples that live in states with a long separation period before a divorce, legal separation is a good alternative. Throughout the separation period, the couple may resolve concerns associated with the marriage like property division. This prevents the couple’s debts and assets and being increasingly intertangled throughout the separation period.
Reasons for Divorce
- Certain Breakdown: When a couple is positive the marriage is over, and they have no aim to reunite they might consider a divorce.
- Dating and Remarriage: If a couple is legally separated, they cannot remarry. If one of the two plans to date or remarry shortly after the separation, divorce might be the best solution. Additionally, many states deem relationships, dating or sex with someone other than their spouse throughout the legal separation adultery or infidelity. State laws concerning adultery differ and consequential penalties may be costly or harsh. Because of this, it might be best to get a divorce if the spouses plan to date.
State Laws in Regard to Legal Separations
A lot of states don’t acknowledge legal separations. For example:
- North Carolina and South Dakota don’t have or acknowledge a formal procedure for legal separation. If you’re a resident of either one of them you’re required to file for divorce.
- West Virginia and Maryland recognize their procedure for legal separation as “limited divorce”.
- Virginia, Rhode Island, and New Jersey recognize their procedure as Divorce from Bed and Board.
- Massachusetts Georgia, Michigan, Oklahoma, and Mississippi and don’t provide a legal separation procedure but they do have comparable separate support strategies that allocate the couple’s assets and other concerns while letting the marriage stay in one piece.
For states that provide comparable actions to a legal separation, a Marriage Separation Agreement may still be presented with the final documents. You can utilize Rocket Lawyers website to finish the required legal documents fast and easily online.
- “Choosing Legal Separation or Divorce – Common Situations.” Rocket Lawyer, https://www.rocketlawyer.com/article/choosing-legal-separation-or-divorce—common-situations.rl.
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