If you have made a difficult decision to leave your partner, you may be tossing up whether divorce or separation is the better choice. They both seem similar on the surface, but they are entirely different relationship statuses from a legal perspective.
Most newlyweds do not anticipate that they will reach a point where this needs to matter. However, the reality is that many married couples cannot make their marriage work and seek legal separation in a matter of months or years.
If you want a dissolution of marriage, here is how you can decide whether to go for a divorce or separation and why you need a divorce attorney to guide you through the process.
Difference Between Divorce or Separation
In this guide, we will go over the differences between divorce and separation to help you decide which is best for you. Then you and your partner can decide to separate for good or temporarily or cut all ties altogether.
What Is a Separation?
Separation involves two people who want to be separated for the long term or short term. This means that you want to divide your assets and any other responsibilities without going through a divorce.
You will still be married legally with separation, even if you do not live together in the same home. During this legal break, you may be asked to create a separation agreement that will go over how all your bills, visitation, spousal support, shared property, and child custody will be divided.
What makes getting a separation more appealing to couples is that they can legally complete the process without needing a divorce attorney. You may also not need to submit any paperwork in court.
This is because you choose to live separate lives, even if you decide to stay together in the same property. You can either find your own homes or move into spare bedrooms in a shared house.
What Is a Divorce?
When a married couple dissolves their union or terminates it for good, this is when you need a divorce attorney. A divorce means that you do not want to remain married. Usually, if a divorce is uncontested, a couple can divide their debts and assets independently or through a divorce attorney. Then all your paperwork gets submitted in court. Otherwise, your divorce may not be legal.
Couples who get divorced and choose to reconcile later will not be “officially together” unless they remarry. Any divorce papers that have been finalized in court will not be reinstated until you tie the knot again.
Should You Separate?
Separation is the ideal choice for couples who do not know if they want a divorce or not. You may still wish to legally benefit from being married. However, many couples choose this route if they will continue sharing the same health care benefits.
Some people have strict spiritual and religious beliefs that prohibit them from getting a divorce. Then a separation makes more sense because they will no longer be together, but it does not have to be so official.
You may also be filing joint tax returns with your partner and do not want to terminate this relationship permanently, so a separation becomes the better choice.
For others, a separation acts as a trial to see if there can be any reconciliation before going for a formal divorce. During this time, some have a change of heart and get back together, while many eventually head for a divorce.
Couples who choose separation over divorce are willing to keep in touch with each other. This way, you can still take advantage of the legal benefits without the romantic relationship while still living together in your marital home.
Some states also insist on a trial separation period before granting you a divorce. You should always check your state’s divorce laws to know whether you will be permitted to file paperwork or will need to try to work on your relationship during a separation.
Should You Divorce?
Divorce is more permanent. It legally separates you from an ex-partner. Couples choose to divorce if they want to end their marriage long-term and no longer use each other’s health care benefits. You may also not want to file joint tax returns anymore.
A divorce is very “final” but best for those who want to marry someone else. Others ready for divorce have already undergone a separation period and realized that they can no longer fix their relationship, so it is pointless to keep trying.
After getting a divorce, you will no longer have any legal ties to each other. This is when you will dissolve your marriage altogether, and your divorce proceedings will be completed in court. When the court grants your divorce, you will no longer be legally bound to your partner.
Divorces in family law can be contested or uncontested. A contested divorce is when a married couple cannot divide their assets and responsibilities without legal assistance. Then you will need to go through settlement hearings and negotiations in court with your divorce attorney.
An uncontested divorce is a simpler step when you and your partner willingly work together to come to an agreement. This way, you make it easier to separate your assets, child support, custody, and any debts.
Both parties can mutually agree to the divorce and separate peacefully. This type of divorce does not require an attorney because you can be civil with your partner to manage the process.
Ending Your Relationship
Going for a divorce or separation is never easy. This can be an emotionally sensitive time for most people. No one ever imagines that their relationship will not last when they celebrate love with family and friends during their wedding ceremonies.
The legal process can be intimidating to go through yourself. However, the right divorce attorney can help you explore your options and move forward swiftly. Contact us today, and we can help you both move forward while guiding you on what to expect over the next few months.