It's common for couples to consider divorce when their marriage faces a significant challenge that cannot be worked out. However, a legal separation is a valid alternative to a divorce. Here is what you need to know about these two potential ways to end a marriage in court.
A couple that is legally separated can go through the process to live separately, all while still having the benefits of being legally married. You'll still need to go through the same legal process as a divorce to obtain a separation agreement that is court-approved, which outlines the terms of your legal separation. This includes aspects such as spousal support, child support, child custody, and division of property.
While a divorce goes through the same steps, the end result is that the marriage is dissolved. Each person is free to get married to another person, and both no longer receive the benefits of being married. Of course, a legally separated couple can always get a divorce later on if either partner decides to get married again.
It's common for a legal separation to not be as comprehensive when it comes to financial arrangements. A legally separated couple may still have a joint bank account and joint debts that need to be paid off, as well as sharing a tax return. A divorce will go over separating the finances in a much more detailed way, which helps ensure that each person can be financially independent after the divorce is final.
A couple that is legally separated always has the option of reconciliation. In fact, a legal separation can help encourage reconciliation because the couple is not officially divorced. They may decide to work on issues for a period of time before finalizing the divorce, and if they do decide on a divorce, many aspects have already been decided.
While a couple can get married again after getting a divorce, know that the process is much more complicated. You essentially have to go through all of the steps that you went through to get married the first time. While every jurisdiction is different, it may be as simple as filing a motion with a family court to end the legal separation and go back to a normal marriage.
Want to find out more information about how divorce and legal separation are different? Work with a divorce lawyer in your area that can help explain it all to you.
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