Legal separation and divorce are not exactly the same. Divorce is considered an extension of legal separation. It is always preferred to try legal separation first rather than divorce if you are unsure about your marriage. Legal separation is mainly the first step toward divorce and is the best tool for couples that are baffled about divorce. Legal separation is like taking a break, the partner lives apart, but the marriage is not yet relinquished.
In a legal separation, the couples are married but live separately. It allows them to live separately while protecting their legal rights like child custody, rights to property, and other agreements. Legal separation allows the couple to maintain their marital status to receive other rights. Legal separation is also known as “divorce a Mensa et thoro,“ “judicial separation,” “divorce from bed-and-board,” and “separate maintenance.” All these terms mean a legal procedure for a married couple to separate while remaining married legally.
Divorce is a step ahead of legal separation. A divorce cannot be filed within one year of marriage, which means a couple needs to complete one year of marriage to take a divorce. But you can apply for legal separation at any time after the marriage. Unlike legal separation, divorce dissolves the marriage permanently. The court decides the agreement of properties and the custody of the child. Sometimes, divorce seems the best option, but we advise you to try legal separation first.
Why is legal separation better than divorce?
A legal separation benefits the couples financially and personally.
- To foster your young children, you might want to keep the family together for their betterment.
- You can reverse legal separation if you change your mind in the future, but there is no looking back if you file for divorce.
- If you are unsure whether to relinquish the marriage, you should file a legal separation rather than divorce for the benefit of the doubt. As it lets the couple take a break and figure out things while protecting them financially.
- Partners wanting to separate for religious purposes cannot file for divorce. Hence, they turn up for legal separation.
- Legal separation does not abolish your tax benefit, meaning the couple can file taxes jointly to take the tax benefit.
- A legal separation allows a partner health coverage and insurance coverage from the other partner’s job, whereas divorce ends this coverage.
- Finally, spouses should be married for ten years to receive military and social security benefits from their spouse’s work. Legal separation is the best option to stay married until you complete your ten years of marriage to enjoy the benefits.
Why do you need a lawyer?
Consulting a lawyer before taking any step is recommended. A lawyer from Ward K Johnson law firm can help you in making the best decision by explaining all the rights and benefits of both options. If you are not receiving any financial benefits from legal separation and have made up your mind about separating forever, then divorce is a good option for you.
Conclusion Though legal separation and divorce are almost the same things, knowing the primary difference will help you in making the best decision for your marital life. A lawyer will help you through all the proceedings and make the best decision possible.