If you and your spouse are having marital troubles, you might be considering what options are available to remedy the problem. While divorce is one possible option, it may not necessarily be the best option for your situation.
Legal separation is an option that would allow you and your spouse to live apart without ending your marriage. Legal separation offers different benefits and drawbacks than divorce offers, so legal separation may be a couple’s most appropriate option under some circumstances.
Preserving your marriage can have benefits
Generally, people do not get married with the expectation that they will one day end the marriage, but sometimes the marital conflict becomes too much, and one or both spouses believe that ending the marriage may be the only way to end the conflict. However, there are some situations in which spouses may just need some time apart to work on their marriage, work on personal problems or consider what they truly want. If there is any chance of reconciliation, a legal separation may be an appropriate choice.
Legal separation may also be beneficial if:
- Your religious beliefs discourage ending your marriage
- You or your spouse have a need to stay on the other’s health insurance, and the health insurance will allow that after legal separation
- You and your spouse want to avoid other costs associated with ending your marriage
What does legal separation entail?
If you and your spouse decide to legally separate you will go through a court process similar to the court process for divorce. This court process will result in a court order detailing division of property, child custody arrangements, child support requirements and spousal support requirements. Then, you and your spouse can live separately with separate finances.
Legal separation is not required before a divorce. However, it can help the process of ending your marriage go more smoothly, since many of the details of the parting will have already been figured out during the legal separation. Although some couples may try to separate informally, an informal separation will not result in a court order, and may not offer a spouse the same protections against the other spouse’s actions during the separation.
Every couple has a unique situation. Legal separation may be the best option for some couples, but not others. This is why considering all possible options is necessary to find the best one for your situation.