Many couples realize at some point in their marriage that things just aren’t working out. However, this doesn’t always mean that you need to get divorced. While many couples decide that a divorce is the best option for them, not everyone wants something so final, at least not right away.
Rather than going through a divorce, some couples decide on a legal separation instead. Choosing the best route for you and your spouse is difficult, and there are many benefits to legal separation as well as disadvantages to consider.
But before we get into its benefits and disadvantages, let’s understand what it means.
1. What Is Legal Separation?
Legal separation isn’t the same as divorce. It is a court-ordered decision to lead separate lives. It is a legal process that allows you to live apart from your spouse while being still legally married. This arrangement continues until you get a decree of divorce from the court.
You will need to hire a legal separation attorney, depending on the situation, to facilitate your separation. Usually, involving a lawyer is an excellent idea as a legal separation may involve specifics like financial obligations, parenting plans, child custody, visitation agreements, and child support.
However, separated spouses are entitled to a few benefits, depending on the state laws. You should consult a competent legal separation lawyer to understand where you stand should you choose to go this route.
2. Understanding The Benefits and Disadvantages of Legal Separation
Before committing to legal separation, it’s best to know the pros and cons of this arrangement. Our clients often ask us about how this legal arrangement works in their favor or doesn’t. Let’s take a look.
1. Benefits of Legal Separation
When compared to a divorce, legal separation offers several unique benefits. They often include:
It Gives You Time Apart
Even if your marriage isn’t working, you might not be ready for a divorce. Sometimes, you just need some time apart. When you’re legally separated, you’re still married in the eyes of the law. Spending time away from your spouse can give you an idea of what getting divorced will feel like. You might decide that after being separated for a while, divorcing is the best choice, but you both may end up changing your minds. In that case, couples can still choose to divorce later on, but won’t have to get remarried if they decide to stay together.
You Can Stay on Your Spouse’s Insurance
Some may be concerned about losing their spouse’s health insurance if they get a divorce. If you depend on your spouse for health insurance and aren’t able to get your own in the near future, getting a legal separation can help you maintain it. As a result, this is one of the significant benefits of legal separation for many spouses.
In addition to keeping a spouse’s health insurance, there are other financial benefits to being legally separated. For some couples, there are tax benefits that make staying together worth it. Those who are dependent on their spouse’s retirement benefits may also need to stay married for a certain period of time, so they may prefer to stay legally married but separated.
Cultural and Religious Beliefs
Many people belong to cultures and religions where divorce is frowned upon. However, these beliefs don’t change the fact that a couple may be unhappy living together. It allows married couples to live apart without having to get a divorce that goes against their beliefs.
2. Disadvantages of Legal Separation
Remember, this isn’t a fast-track divorce. And like any court arrangement, it also has a few drawbacks. The major disadvantages of legal separation include:
You Can’t Remarry
When things don’t work out with your current spouse, you likely hope to meet someone else eventually. However, if you’re legally separated, you can’t get remarried, and you should even stay away from dating. If you and your spouse do decide to get divorced, your relationships while legally separated could be used against you. This could be beneficial if you intend to be on your own during it, but if you’re interested in seeing other people, this might not be the best option.
The Process Isn’t Necessarily Easy
Some people see it as an easier alternative to getting a divorce. However, this is not true. Going through the process of legally separating still takes time and money, and while this is worth it if it’s right for your situation, those who are expecting an easier way to get divorced will be disappointed. You still need to divide your assets and properties, and if you have children, you’ll need to have child support and custody arranged. This is why you need to ensure a legal separation is right for you so that you can feel confident entering this process.
Always Hire a Nashville Legal Separation Lawyer for Help
Knowing the best thing to do when your marriage isn’t working is extremely difficult. This is something you likely never thought you’d have to think about, but you don’t have to decide on your own. You can and should always hire a reliable attorney to guide you every step of the way.
A skilled and experienced lawyer will help you:
- Understand if this is a suitable legal arrangement for you
- Draw a detailed legal separation plan (including child support, child custody, financial assets, etc.)
- Prepare and submit the necessary paperwork
- Negotiate with your spouse’s attorney on your behalf
- Speed up the process as much as possible
Contact Our Separation Attorneys Today
Legal separation is one of the best ways to split up if things aren’t working for you and your spouse anymore. It’s not as drastic a step as a divorce. In fact, it can be a suitable option for many couples. Understanding the benefits and disadvantages of legal separation can help you decide whether or not to take this step.
At MHPS, we have experience helping many people decide what options are best for their situation. We can help you determine if a legal separation or a divorce is in your best interest and help you through the process for whichever you decide on. Contact our Nashville legal separation lawyers today.