Although many couples are sure of their decision to end their marriage and go their separate ways, there are others that may not be quite so certain. Alternatively, there may be extenuating circumstances, such as religious beliefs or financial concerns, that can either rule out or complicate the traditional divorce process. If you are wondering whether legal separation may be a viable alternative in your situation, a qualified family lawyer can help you explore this question further and provide you with some details that could assist you with your decision.
Legal Separation vs. Divorce
Some think that separation is like divorce. Others assume that it is the first step to divorce. Both beliefs may have an element of truth to them depending on the situation, but neither tells the whole story. Unlike divorce, legal separation does not break the legal marital bond. The spouses remain married, so neither party can remarry without a full, legal divorce. Separated spouses can pursue maintenance and child support, however, and they can seek a determination on the allocation of parental responsibilities and parenting time for any shared children. Additionally, legal separation is not a required step before divorce, nor does it always lead to divorce.
Why Choose Separation?
Since legal separation and divorce are different legal paths, and legal separation is not necessary for divorce, some may be confused as to the purpose of seeking a separation. Again, legal separation allows each party the ability to pursue certain forms of support, but it can do much more than just this. It can also give couples the space they need to work through their differences so they can reunite without ever having breached their marriage vows. Alternatively, legal separation can give spouses the time they need to decide if divorce may be the next step for them. It may also be used as an alternative to divorce if either party is strongly opposed to divorce, whether because of religious or moral values....