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May 16, 2020

Legal Separation Vs Divorce

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Personal Injury Lawyer

Deciding that your marriage is over can take a toll on your emotional and physical wellbeing. The circumstances in your life determine the stress that may follow this decision and whether or not you and your spouse can reach an agreement.

The legal process of getting a divorce is something that is not always easy to navigate. A family lawyer, someone you can depend on to get the ball rolling and keep everything flowing towards your end goal. However, the journey towards a dissolution may start, not with a petition for divorce, but with a legal separation. Find out the differences between these two processes and what each may mean in your case.

A Legal Separation Does Not Always Lead to Divorce

Some states require legal separation before a divorce action can be brought. This entails the parties entering into a legal separation agreement wherein they express their intent to live in separate residences and move forward with independent lives. There may also need to be a formal agreement between the parties concerning a temporary splitting of assets, debts, and children. One spouse may have to pay the other spousal support while separated. A legal separation does not have to end in divorce. In some cases, couples may take the time to work out their issues and return to a shared residence. Other times, the couple may just remain legally separated and continue with life.

A Legal Separation Does Not Address the Issues Permanently

When a couple decides to remain legally separated, some things are not addressed. They may have agreed to temporary alimony or splitting of debts and assets. However, these things are not permanently binding. If a spouse wants to move out of state with minor children, they may do so if legally separated unless they have a legal agreement that says they cannot. A legal separation does not fully address all issues of divorce.

A Divorce Is the Only Process That Legally Ends a Marriage 

Even if a couple is legally separated for years, one or the other cannot remarry until they proceed with a divorce. Only divorce can legally sever a marriage and restore the parties to single status. If your state requires a legal separation, then once that statutory requirement runs out, you may move forward with a formal divorce under the law.

Family lawyers understand best which route is best for you and your future. Understanding whether your state requires legal separation or not before divorce is crucial to getting the process done correctly. 

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