Unlike divorce, a legal separation does not put an end to the marriage. During a legal separation, you have a court order that outlines the rights and responsibilities of each spouse while they are living apart. You remain legally married while choosing to live separate lives. Issues that can be addressed in a separation agreement are division of assets and debts, child custody and child support, visitation schedules and spousal support.
The same issues addressed during the divorce process are also addressed in a legal separation agreement. A legal separation can protect your interests until the decision is made to file for divorce. The separation agreement also sets precedence for the divorce that may follow. If you divorce after a separation and your case goes to court, a judge is likely to assume that since you were satisfied with the legal separation agreement, the agreement should carry over to the divorce settlement agreement. For that reason, it is important that you come to a separation agreement you can live with for a long time.
Legal separation actions are fairly uncommon. However, in some instances legal separations are a good alternative to divorce actions if both parties are in agreement. The major difference between a legal separation and a divorce is that the parties remain legally married at the end of the case.
Some couples may have strong religious convictions that require them to avoid a divorce. In some instances, older couples who no longer wish to live as husband and wife may separate their affairs through a legal separation, but continue to be legally married which can often avail one or both spouses to continued insurance or other benefits that are conditioned on the existence of a legal marriage.
Legal separation actions resolve the same issues that would be resolved in a divorce, such as child custody and parenting plan issues, child support, property and debt distribution, and spousal maintenance.
Common Issues in Legal Separation actions
- Division of Marital Assets
- Your Finances
- Protecting Your Professional Practice
- Child Custody and Visitation
- Child Custody Disputes
- Move-Away and Relocation
- Child Support
- Military Legal Separation
- Pre- and Post-Nuptial Agreements
- Family and Domestic Violence
Please contact the Law Office of Clifton L. Davidson, LLC if you would like to discuss the pros and cons of legal separation versus divorce.