Discover The Advantages Of Choosing A Legal Separation Instead Of A Divorce

Legal Separation

When we get married, we do not have the thought of leaving our spouse. But some circumstances lead us to have issues with our spouse, which makes us think about separation from them.

But marriage is not child’s play that can be ended with a mere disagreement; due to this, you are required to make a proper decision whether you want to be separated from your spouse or end the marriage altogether. 

In this article, we will tell you the advantages you shall have by choosing legal separation over divorce

Legal separation in the United States refers to a formal legal arrangement between married couples who wish to live separately without getting a divorce. 

Legal separation is a legal process that allows couples to formalize their separation while remaining legally married. This can be beneficial for various reasons, such as religious beliefs that oppose divorce, financial considerations, or the need to maintain certain benefits that come with marriage (e.g., health insurance).

It’s important to note that legal separation laws and procedures can vary by state, so it’s advisable to consult with an attorney or legal professional in your specific jurisdiction for accurate and up-to-date information. 

Why Would You Get A Legal Separation Instead Of A Divorce?

Legal separation and divorce are two distinct legal processes in the United States, each with its own advantages and considerations. While the specific advantages of legal separation can vary depending on individual circumstances, here are some potential benefits of choosing legal separation over divorce:

Maintain Marital Status

Some people may choose legal separation to retain certain benefits associated with being married, such as access to health insurance, social security benefits, or tax advantages.

Religious or Personal Beliefs

If a couple’s religious or personal beliefs prohibit divorce, legal separation can provide a way to live separately while still adhering to those beliefs.

Trial Period

Legal separation can serve as a trial period for couples who are uncertain about whether divorce is the right choice. It allows them to experience living apart before making a permanent decision.

Time for Reconciliation

Legal separation can provide couples with time and space to work on their issues and potentially reconcile without having to go through the formal divorce process.

Financial Considerations

In some cases, legal separation may allow for continued joint financial benefits, such as shared health insurance, military benefits, or eligibility for a spouse’s pension.

Emotional Considerations

Legal separation can be less emotionally charged than divorce, which might make it a more suitable option for couples who want to separate but wish to avoid the emotional and social implications of divorce.

Simplified Process 

Legal separation can be a simpler and faster process than divorce, as it doesn’t involve the division of property and assets to the same extent.

Stability for Children

If there are children involved, legal separation can provide a sense of stability by allowing the couple to maintain a formal relationship while living separately, which could be less disruptive for the children than a full divorce.

Healthcare Access

If one spouse relies on the other’s health insurance, legal separation might allow them to continue benefiting from the coverage.

Personal Reasons

Some individuals might prefer legal separation due to personal preferences, cultural factors, or other considerations that make divorce less appealing.

It’s important to note that the advantages of legal separation can vary depending on the specific laws of the state you reside in, as family law regulations differ across jurisdictions. 

Additionally, while legal separation has its benefits, it’s essential to consult with a legal professional to fully understand the implications of your decision and to make the choice that aligns with your individual circumstances and goals.

Here are the general steps you might need to follow to file for legal separation:

Research Your State’s Laws

Laws regarding legal separation vary from state to state. Research your state’s laws to understand the specific requirements, procedures, and forms needed for filing for legal separation.

Meet Residency Requirements

Most states require that you or your spouse meet certain residency requirements before filing for legal separation. This typically involves living in the state for a specific period of time.

Grounds for Legal Separation

Different states have different grounds (reasons) for legal separation. Common grounds include irreconcilable differences, abandonment, cruelty, and more. Determine the appropriate grounds for your situation according to your state’s laws.

Consult an Attorney

While legal separation is often less complex than divorce, it’s still a legal process that benefits from professional guidance. Consulting with an experienced family law attorney can help you understand your rights, obligations, and the process.

Gather Necessary Documents

You’ll need to gather important documents related to your marriage, assets, finances, and children (if applicable). These may include financial statements, property deeds, prenuptial agreements, and information about child custody arrangements.

File a Petition or Complaint

Prepare the appropriate legal documents, often called a “Petition for Legal Separation” or “Complaint for Separation,” depending on your state. These documents outline your reasons for seeking legal separation and your desired outcomes.

Serve the Other Spouse

 After filing the petition, you must legally notify your spouse about the proceedings. This is usually done through a process server or law enforcement officer, and it ensures that your spouse has proper notice of the legal action.

Response from the Other Spouse

Once served, your spouse has a certain period of time to respond to the petition. They may agree with the terms or contest them.

Negotiation and Settlement

If you and your spouse have disagreements about issues such as property division, child custody, and spousal support, negotiations may take place. Mediation can also be helpful in reaching an agreement.

Draft a Separation Agreement

If you and your spouse are able to come to an agreement, you’ll need to draft a formal separation agreement. This document outlines the terms of your separation, including property division, custody arrangements, support payments, and more.

File the Agreement

File the separation agreement and any required supporting documents with the court. The court will review the agreement and, if acceptable, issue an order for legal separation.

Follow Court Procedures

Depending on your state’s procedures, you might need to attend court hearings or provide additional documentation to finalize the legal separation.

Remember that each state’s process and requirements can differ significantly. It’s crucial to consult your state’s specific laws and, if possible, seek legal advice to ensure that you navigate the legal separation process correctly.

The median cost of getting a legal separation in the US is estimated at $7,000. On the other hand, the average cost of going through a legal separation ranges between $15,000 to $20,000 if it leads to a divorce. 

Moreover, a legal separation attorney or a family lawyer is known to charge their client based on an hourly rate. On the other hand, the cost of a lawyer solely depends upon the experience and the region of the practice of the lawyer. 

Final Thoughts 

Having a legal separation can allow you to have more benefits compared to completely dissolving your marriage by divorce. This is because you might reconsider getting back to your spouse while being in separation. 

Due to this, it is essential that you hire a good and experienced family lawyer to go through the legal separation process in an appropriate manner. 

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Nilanjana Basu
Nilanjana is a lawyer with a flair for writing. She has a certification in American Laws from Penn Law (Pennsylvania University). Along with this, she has been known to write legal articles that allow the audience to know about American laws and regulations at ease.

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