Although they share some similarities, legal separation and divorce are not the same thing. Each instance involves the couple living apart from one another with a specific legal agreement in place. However, legal separation does not completely dissolve the marriage like a divorce does. In this article, we will discuss the pros and cons of legal separation and what it can mean for your individual circumstance.
What Is Legal Separation?
Just like a divorce, legal separation requires court appointed agreements to be put in place. The couple and their lawyers will reach agreeable negotiations that will be filed with the court. Unlike a divorce, a legal separation still leaves the marriage intact, but with stipulations. A legal separation agreement takes on all of the issues that are covered during a divorce proceeding.
In the State of California, your spouse needs to agree to a legal separation. If they do not, you may have to file for divorce. With that being said, legal separation is not something that should be considered without deep thought as it is a life-changing occurrence.
Summary – Legal separation is almost identical to divorce. The only difference is divorce results in the complete dissolution of the marriage and legal separation does not.
The Pros Of Legal Separation
Choosing to embark on the path of legal separation is a personal decision that only you and your spouse can make. It isn’t a choice that should be made lightly. Legal separation should never be done without the guidance of a skilled attorney who specializes in divorce and family law, such as Bruce A. Mandel.
For most, legal separation is the first step to a final divorce. There may be reasons such as tax benefits and religious convictions that inspire a couple to become legally separated before deciding to completely dissolve their marital union. Sometimes, a couple will determine that although they cannot remain under the same roof, they have good reason not to divorce, either.
Reasons to Choose Legal Separation:
- There are federal tax breaks for married couples and you, and your spouse would like to continue benefiting from them.
- You and/or your spouse will continue to receive health insurance from the subscriber’s plan.
- The possibility of reconciliation is alive. With a legal separation, you and your spouse can still opt to keep your marriage intact after some time apart. Many couples seek marriage counseling during legal separation.
- One or both of you do not believe in divorce due to religious convictions.
- The pair of you might be financially unstable and wish to stay legally married to help with living costs. This also holds true if your spouse will be deemed as financially unstable due to a divorce and you would like to stay married until they can stand on their own.
- When you or your spouse is eligible for the other’s social security benefits. After 10 years of marriage, this sum of money increases.
- You and your spouse are not ready to negotiate a full-blown divorce agreement. Legal separation protects your rights and financial interests while the two of you decide whether or not divorce is the right decision.
- If you and your spouse plan to stay separated on a long-term basis, it is imperative that you have a separation agreement in place so that you both have your interests legally protected.
- All of the issues covered in a divorce are also covered in a legal separation. This includes child support, custody and parenting time, asset and property division, payment of marital debts, and spousal support.
Summary – Legal separation protects the interests of both parties while they consider the possibility of divorce.
The Cons Of Legal Separation
As with any legal procedure involving family law, there are some cons to choosing a legal separation. Even though legal separation isn’t a divorce, the journey is still complicated and emotionally taxing. This is all the more reason to choose an experienced attorney like Bruce A. Mandel to represent you and process your paperwork.
Reasons Not to Choose Legal Separation:
- You have plans to remarry or aspire to remarry, at some point. Legal separation is not a divorce; therefore, you will still remain married. California state law says that you cannot be married to two people at once.
- You desire to sever financial ties with your spouse. Legal separation still requires you to act as one party in terms of financial responsibility, aside from child and/or spousal support obligations.
- You are absolutely sure you want to dissolve your marriage. Choosing legal separation only prolongs your stress and discontentment.
- When there is zero financial benefit. There is no reason to waste time and money on a legal separation when there won’t be any financial gain.
Summary – Legal separation is just as complicated as a divorce. It limits what you can do as far as remarriage and financial responsibility.
Contact The Bruce A. Mandel Divorce & Family Law Firm For More Information About Legal Separation
Deciding whether or not to proceed with a legal separation is not a decision that should be made lightly, nor should it be made on your own. Our attorneys at the Bruce A. Mandel Divorce & Family Law Firm are here to support and guide you during this difficult time. We are experienced and well-versed in the areas of legal separation and divorce. It is our goal to ensure these processes unfold as smoothly as possible as you make these major life changes.
We would love to sit down with you in a FREE consultation to discuss your options. Have you considered the pros and cons of legal separation versus divorce? Our attorneys understand how complicated both of these procedures can be and want to help you make the right choice for your individual circumstances. You can trust that we have your best interest at heart as well as the interests of your children and the protection of your financial assets. Please don’t hesitate to call or contact us online to schedule an appointment with one of our skilled attorneys.
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Torrance, CA 90505
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