Legal Separation or Divorce?

The end of a relationship is a difficult time for all involved.  There are many decisions to make when your relationship with your spouse is at an end.  You will have to make essential Angry Coupledecisions about how to divide your assets, who will be responsible for which debts, and if the two of you have children together, you will need to come to an agreement on visitation and custody.  One choice you may be consideration is whether to choose a legal separation or divorce.

Most people understand that a divorce means the end of your marriage.  During a divorce, a court will divide your marital property and your marital debt.  Depending on the length of your marriage and your financial situation, a court could also make an award of spousal support.  Finally, if the spouses have children together, the court will make an order for custody and for child support.  Before the finalization of the divorce, a court can make a temporary order to provide for temporary visitation, temporary spousal support, and temporary child support.  This is to help the parties maintain the status quo while they are hashing out the details of a final agreement or while they prepare for a final hearing, if no agreement is possible.  Getting a divorce can take months, or even longer.

What many people do not understand is that a legal separation achieves many of the exact same goals of a divorce.  During a legal separation, a court can make a division of assets, provide for child custody and child support, and make an order for spousal support.  Like a divorce, the process can be lengthy, and it could be months until you are legally separated.  The big difference is that at the end of a legal separation, you will still be married.  This is important for some people for religious or moral reasons, as some do not believe in divorce, even if the parties’ relationship has become untenable.  Another reason that some people choose legal separation is for health insurance reasons.  After a divorce, you will not be able to carry your former spouse on your health insurance.  However, even after a legal separation, your spouse can still be on your health insurance plan.

We have extensive experience helping our clients choose the right legal proceeding to meet their goals and needs. Call us today at 651-371-9117 to talk about your future.