What is the Difference Between Divorce and Legal Separation?
If your marriage is not working and you want a divorce or legal separation, this article will explain the similarities and differences between the two options. In either case it would be smart to meet with one of our Family Law attorneys that can fully explain what is involved with each option and help you begin the process.
A divorce is a dissolution of marriage. When a divorce becomes final the couple’s marriage will legally be ended and each spouse will resume the status of single. During a divorce a court will rule on the division of debts, property, custody, child support, assets and visitation. Once you become divorced there is no longer any legal ties between the two spouses. If the two of you have children then you will still be tied to your children as parents.
In a legal separation the marriage will remain intact, but the spouses no longer have the expectation of living together. Just like in a divorce, a court will still rule on the division of debts, custody, property, child support, assets and visitation. The marriage will remain in tact however until one of the spouses decides to take further action to terminate the marriage. A legal separation can be converted to a divorce within 2 years of being filed. A divorce can still be filed after 2 years, but it must be done as a completely separate proceeding.
Situations will occur where a couple will no longer want to live together, but still want to remained married. A common example of this is due to religious beliefs. In other cases a couple may want to keep the benefits they are receiving from one of the spouses employment (social security or medical benefits). It is important to check the fine print on this however; many policies will exclude a spouse of benefits if they are legally separated.
If you feel that a divorce or legal separation is necessary for your marriage or you have any questions at all, please contact our Family Law Attorneys at FlinLaw and they can give you advice on how to proceed based on your needs and goals.