There comes a time when you feel your marriage can no longer continue. If you feel you need to end your marriage, you have to consider whether divorce or separation is the best route to take.
As this is a life-changing decision, you want to make sure you are well-informed about the obligations and consequences of each option. You want to consider how this will affect your relationship with your current spouse.
If you have children, you want to think about how divorce or separation will affect their lives.
This guide will help you understand the difference between the two, so you can make the right decision.
If you don’t wish to continue with the marriage but are also hesitant to end your marriage, you may wish to consider a legal separation. This means that you and your spouse remain married. However, it’s understood under the law that you are living apart and don’t wish to maintain a relationship.
With this option, you and your spouse can prepare an agreement on how to divide responsibilities. These can include who will handle financial obligations, child custody, etc.
As this isn’t a way to end your marriage, you can always reconcile your relationship if you ever choose.
You can also consider an informal separation at first. If you are having trouble with the relationship, you might want to spend time apart at first. If you go months without being together, you might find that you can reconcile the relationship. If you and your spouse still wish to be apart, then you should consider a legal separation.
This is a permanent method to end your marriage and allows you to remarry in the future. You will need to find a great divorce lawyer to help you negotiate the terms of the divorce.
Divorce doesn’t just delegate responsibilities and child custody. It also decides on asset ownership. With divorces, one person might lose their property to their spouse. One can also get made to pay alimony on a regular basis.
Divorce is a lifelong decision with serious consequences. As such, you want to make sure that you and your spouse discuss this beforehand. Divorce is also known to have negative effects on children so you want to take this into account.
Why Should You Legally Separate?
Even if you and your spouse wish to divorce, you should consider a legal separation first. You might find that you can still delegate the responsibilities without issue.
This is the easiest way to separate from your spouse. There are fewer obligations than if you opt for divorce. If you have young children, this is also what can lessen the likelihood of any negative effects.
Many couples find that it’s much more convenient to legally separate. You can still meet your spouse on occasion. Or, you can avoid them altogether without having to go through the hassle of a divorce proceeding.
Why Should You Divorce?
For most people, legal separation is always the best option. It’s always better to spend time apart without the permanence of ending the marriage. You also want to leave the option open to reconciling your relationship.
In the rare case that this isn’t feasible, then you should consider divorce over a legal separation. If you think you may wish to marry someone else, then you must get a divorce first.
Divorce terms are set in stone with the law. As a result, if anyone doesn’t keep up their bargain one can always look at the divorce terms to file a dispute. For example, if your spouse hasn’t paid alimony, you will depend on the divorce terms to file a dispute.
Process for Legal Separation
You have to find the specific forms for your state. You and your spouse fill out these forms and take them to your county’s district court. Once you submit the form with a small fee, the court will process it. You’ll later get asked to provide the terms of your separation.
You don’t need to hire a lawyer for deciding the terms. You and your spouse can write down the terms of your separation agreement. Once these get reviewed by a judge, the separation gets approved.
If you don’t prepare the terms beforehand, a judge will help you and your spouse decide on the terms. The judge will help you determine who should get assets, manage responsibilities, and have child custody.
The separation agreement is bound by law. As such, if either party violates the terms they can get taken to court. The separation agreement can later be used as grounds for divorce. If you and your spouse wish to reconcile, this has to be brought to the court’s attention.
Process for Divorce
If you’ve decided on a divorce, you and your spouse will have the lawyer prepare the terms. This is a much lengthier process and will require many revisions.
For example, if you promise your property to your spouse it’s bound by law after the divorce gets settled. If you get assigned responsibilities, you want to make sure you can fulfill them.
If you owe alimony each month, do you have enough income to pay it without fail? If you get split custody, do you have time each week to spend time with the children?
You want to make sure that you and your spouse agree upon the terms before going to court. At the court proceedings, the judge will revise the terms of the agreement. Once they get approved, the judge will finalize the divorce.
Choose Divorce or Separation
Now you can choose whether divorce or separation is a better option for your situation. Make sure you discuss this thoroughly with your spouse. You want to consider what’s the best option to maintain great relations.
You also want to discuss what challenges might occur with either option and whether you both are willing to handle them. As this is a major decision, you want to avoid rushing into it!
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