The differences between legal separation and divorce

On behalf of Stange Law Firm, PC posted in Legal Separation on Thursday, August 7, 2014.

Anyone who has been in a long-term relationship knows that it takes effort. It’s likely that there is something about your spouse that bothers you, but you work through it because you love each other. Still, as the years go on, it can be difficult to continue tolerating these behaviors, and you may find yourself wondering if perhaps the marriage isn’t working out. At the same time, divorce has such a serious and final feel to it that you’re left wondering which choice is the right one.

What you may not know is that there is a middle ground between marriage and divorce: legal separation. Legal separation isn’t a very common legal option, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t useful, particularly if your marriage has hit a bump in the road that is causing you or your spouse to reevaluate the relationship. For those who aren’t familiar with the concept, FindLaw has a very useful article that discusses the differences between legal separation and divorce. The short answer is that with legal separation, couples are still married even though they’re living apart, but with divorce, the couple are no longer married.

There are many advantages to legal separation, especially since the courts treat it very similarly to divorce. For example, the court mandates separation maintenance, which is comparable to spousal and child support. The court will also mandate child custody, child visitation and property division in a legal separation.

Legal separation is a great option for couples who feel that their marriage is not working, but they haven’t given up on it completely. It allows them to experience a sample of what their lives might be like if they were to divorce, but they remain legally married in case they decide to keep their love alive.

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