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Legal Separation Archives

A legal separation may benefit you before divorce

If you and your spouse do not want to get a divorce but do want to live apart, you may wish to consider a legal separation. This process has the potential to be helpful if someone wants to consider reconciliation in the future but needs to be separate, financially and legally, from his or her spouse right now.

Why would you want a legal separation?

Legal separations and divorces are not the same. While it's often you hear about people ending their marriages through a divorce, a legal separation can be a better option depending on the circumstances. For example, if getting a divorce will hurt you financially, a legal separation may be a better choice.

What is a legal separation?

It may have been a difficult decision, deciding that you want to separate from your spouse. Or, perhaps it was made very easy because of your situation. In either case, this is a legal process that has a number of steps you need to follow.

Here's why you should consider a legal separation

Are there benefits to seeking a legal separation instead of divorce? Yes. In fact, a legal separation doesn't actually end your marriage. Since you haven't ended your marriage, you can often stay on your spouse's health insurance and still keep other spousal benefits.

What's the difference between a legal separation and divorce?

When you're in a marriage that isn't working out, you have two real options. The first is to separate, and the second is to get a divorce. Legal separation and divorce aren't the same, even though they have similar outcomes in some ways. For instance, a legal separation can help you divide your assets, but a divorce legally dissolves your marriage. In both cases, you are able to return to living a life on your own and away from your spouse.

Determining shared and separate property allocations

When you're going to get a divorce, one of the things that you have to determine is who owns what. Marital property is primarily property that you have gained during your marriage, but there are some items, like items you had before your marriage, that may be marital property now or still be considered yours alone.

How child custody works during separation

During a separation, child custody rights are every bit as important as after a divorce. Typically, child custody rights and issues are resolved as part of divorce proceedings, but if you're only separated, that can be a challenge. If you and your spouse separate, you can make child custody decisions on your own, work through mediation, or get the help of your attorneys to determine a good parenting plan until the case goes to court; if you have a plan you agree on, you may get the court to put it into place permanently.

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