An unhappy marriage can be life draining, making you feel as if you’re stuck in a wall. If such a feeling should continue, you might feel the need to escape from such a relationship, hence turning to divorce or legal separation.
However, we use the term interchangeably, which is wrong, as they are both different terms. When going to court, ensure you use the right terms to describe the situation to protect your interest.
With a family lawyer guiding you every step of the way, you steer away from mistakes that could hurt your interest. So, what are the differences?
Separation simply refers to living apart. In this kind of situation, you don’t need to file court papers or appear in court. The law does not require you to live with your spouse, but doing so will affect some of your legal rights, like taxes and special benefits.
Before you divorce or separate from your spouse, it is imperative you work with an experienced family lawyer. Since this is likely your first time, this qualified individual will help you understand the implications of your decisions.
If you decide to separate, you will need to work out certain arrangements like child support, spousal support, and payment of bills. It is often the stage where you work with a mediator to help you come to a mutually beneficial agreement with your spouse.
Take note that the court can help in getting child support and spousal support even without legal separation in place. In the same way, the court can detect custody and visitation without filing for divorce or separation.
When you decide to take that decision to be legally separated, all you have to do is file a petition in the court. What makes legal separation and divorce so similar is that both include custody, visitation, spousal support, child support, and even division of assets.
Divorce, on the other hand, is a court judgment ending a marriage. However, the court requires a ‘legal reason’ for a divorce. Before your divorce is finalized, the court will sort out issues that need addressing, such as child custody, spousal support, asset division, and so on.
The reason most people often opt for legal separation and not divorce is due to their religious beliefs. Married couples can live apart from each other and still remain married, and the law doesn’t require any to live with their spouses.
You must speak with an attorney for advice and legal guidance, especially on the differences between separation and divorce. Your attorney will help you prepare a written agreement between you and your spouse. Ready for this journey? Go ahead and give us a call, or perhaps fill our contact form.