When to choose legal separation over divorce

If you are uncertain whether you want to get a divorce, but feel that you can no longer live with your spouse then you may want to consider legal separation. During a legal separation you will still have to negotiate issues such as child custody, spousal support, visitation and division of property. Unlike divorce, you will still be legally married after the process. You will still have to go to family law court to reach a settlement.

Reasons to consider separation include:

Religious considerations – Many couples oppose divorce for religious or moral reasons. Many religions frown on divorce and couples may choose to skirt the issue by getting a legal separation instead of divorce enabling them to live separately while remaining legally married. If, down the road, you choose to re-marry you will have to go through with the divorce.

Expenses – One point that cannot be underestimated is cost. Getting a divorce can be a very expensive process with the legal fees involved.

Benefits – Couples may choose separation in order to retain government benefits as well as tax benefits. If you choose to stay married for government benefits, make sure to read the fine print in order to ensure that you are complying with all applicable laws.

Reconciliation – Many couples believe that there is a chance they may come together again after getting some distance from each other.

Stress – Some couples may find it less stressful to negotiate a separation agreement as opposed to a divorce agreement.

A family law attorney can give you the pros and cons of separation vs. divorce in more detail. Make sure to consider consulting with your accountant and financial advisor to get an idea of the legal ramifications.

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