How to Choose between Legal Separation and Divorce
In the U.S., the divorce rate is at 40 percent to 50 percent, says the American Psychological Association. That means a lot of marriages end up in legal separation or divorce. If you’re wondering which one works better for you, here are a few basic things to consider:
Difference Between the Two
Unlike a divorce, which dissolves your marriage, a legal separation allows you and your spouse to remain married, even if you both decide to live separately. You and your spouse could agree on each one’s rights and responsibilities in the marriage and come up with an agreement detailing those rights and responsibilities. If you can’t seem to decide, you can have a court order decide it for you.
Some treat separation as a temporary measure. If you have things to work out with your spouse, a time-off can be a desirable solution. By giving each other some breathing space, getting your spouse off your back or you off hers/his can be the step you need to mend fences and begin fixing your marriage. However, it can also set be a way to ease into the divorce. If you do decide to get divorced, the judge will go with that agreement. So be sure to set up one that works for both of you in the long-term. In some cases, you can expect greater spousal benefits after the 10-year mark so you might want to be legally separated till then.
Dissolving your marriage means a division of assets and debts. This can work to your advantage, especially if you want to get remarry in the near future. Being divorced also absolves you of any liability for your ex-spouse’s debts.
Ask for Help
Get a lawyer to help you assess your situation. With legal help, figuring out which one works best for you financially and emotionally in the long-run should be easier.