Maybe your marriage has hit a rough patch. You’re not ready to call it quits just yet but just want to spend some time apart to sort out whether you want to stay together or not. If this sounds familiar, then you may be considering a legal separation. For decades, the Nashville legal separation lawyers at Martin Heller Potempa & Sheppard, PLLC have been helping couples come to an agreement on separation. With extensive knowledge in family law, we can guide you through the process, negotiate child custody and support, and file all the necessary paperwork.
How Legal Separation Differs From Divorce
What many couples don’t realize is legal separation is not a quick or easy divorce. It requires the same court proceedings. Like a divorce, a legal separation can be a complete division between the two parties. Assets, property, and debt are divided between the spouses, spousal support is awarded, and child support and custody is arranged. It can be just as expensive as a divorce. But the difference between a legal separation and a divorce is you are still married in the eyes of the law, even if a spouse becomes disabled or dies. Even in a legal separation, the couple can choose to cohabitate and continue to be recognized as a married couple. Whereas in a divorce, the separation is final – the couple will need to remarry if they choose to get back together.
Why Separate Instead of Divorce?
There are some advantages to getting separated as opposed to a divorce, such as:
Health Insurance – Most plans do not allow divorced couples to continue coverage for former spouses. So in cases where a family cannot afford to have more than one insurance plan, it may be wiser to separate than getting a divorce.
Retirement Benefits – Depending on employment history, one spouse may not have retirement benefits available to them. In the case of spousal benefits, a nonworking spouse can claim under his or her spouse’s as long as the marriage lasts for at least 10 years. However, if you’re close to the 10-year mark, you may want to separate until you reach it.
Religious Beliefs – Some religions either frown upon or don’t recognize divorce. But a legal separation allows those couples to live apart without violating their religious beliefs.
Grounds for Divorce – In Tennessee, you must have grounds for your divorce. One of those grounds is separation from your spouse for two or more years, as long as the couple does not have minor children. In addition, an absolute divorce can be granted if one of the spouses files a petition appending the separation agreement.
How Our Nashville Legal Separation Lawyers Can Help
When deciding whether a legal separation is a right option, it is important to know exactly what other options are available to you. The legal separation lawyers at Martin Heller Potempa & Sheppard PLLC can guide you through the process and help work out the specifics of your separation agreement. If down the road you plan to get a divorce, our attorneys can advise you on the best strategy.
If you live in Nashville, Springfield, or anywhere Davidson and Williamson Counties, and are considering a legal separation, let us help. Contact our legal separation lawyers now to set up an appointment to discuss your needs.