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Legal separation or divorce: Which is better?

If you're going to separate from your spouse, you have two options to choose from. The first is a legal separation, and the second is divorce.

Are there benefits to choosing a legal separation over divorce?

With a legal separation, you don't actually go through the process of divorce. However, you do still need to work through parenting plans if you have children, asset division settlements if you share assets and so on. With a legal separation, you're free to move away and to live a separate life from your spouse. The court still finalizes this process, but it's not as definite as a divorce.

You might want to consider this option if you're not sure you want to end your marriage or if you can't get a divorce because of religious reasons. You can still obtain health insurance from your spouse's job if you get a legal separation, too.

Why should you choose a divorce instead of a legal separation?

One of the most common reasons for choosing a divorce instead is because one of the people involved wants to get married again in the future. You can't get married if you're only legally separated, because you are technically still married to your ex. A divorce is only different because it legally ends your marriage. Both processes take around the same amount of time and cost similar amounts.

If there is no financial benefit to remain married, heading straight to divorce may be the better option. If you choose to get a legal separation and then divorce later, you'll need to pay more and file new documents with the court.

Source: Protective, "Legal Separation or Divorce?," accessed Dec. 23, 2016

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