Legal Separation vs. Divorce?
When a married couple wants to break up, they have two options: Legal separation and divorce. There are a number of similarities and differences between divorce and legal separation, and it is important to consider them before making a choice.
Similarities Between Legal Separation and Divorce
In both a legal separation and a divorce, the couple is no longer legally responsible to each other. This means that their finances are separate, and the couple goes through the process of dividing their assets in both cases. After the couple is legally separated, the ex-partner no longer has any claim over the other’s assets, though they still may be responsible for their debts.
If the couple has children, then custody arrangements will be made, and the court will make decisions regarding child support. Just like in a divorce, the legal separation proceedings include child visitation schedules and, in some cases, alimony payments.
Differences Between Legal Separation and Divorce
The main difference between legal separation and divorce is that in the eyes of the law, the couple is technically married. This means they still receive many of the benefits of marriage, such as health care benefits and next of kin benefits. If the couple gets a divorce, then they will no longer be on their healthcare plan or receive survivorship rights to their property.
Additionally, if the couple opts for a legal separation, they are still technically married and therefore cannot remarry until they first get a divorce.
Why Choose Legal Separation Over Divorce?
Some people choose legal separation to allow their ex-spouse to claim healthcare benefits because they are the parent of their child. It also makes the process of reconciliation easier because there is no need to get married again.
Many legal separations occur because of cultural or religious views on divorce. Legal separation allows the couple to separate without having to get a divorce. It is important to note that your ex-spouse will automatically be your next of kin, so you will need to seek legal counsel when conducting end of life planning.
The decision between a legal separation and divorce is a personal one, but it is also logistical. Speak to an attorney before making a decision either way so you can make the best decision for your circumstances. Divorce allows you to make a clean break, but legal separation means you still have some ties to your ex-spouse.