Divorce is basically putting an end to your marriage while being legally separated allows you to stay married while living separately. The court will give you guidelines that you will need to follow to ensure each spouse’s responsibilities and rights are protected while you are living apart. In this article, we will discuss the points that will help you better understand what divorce and legal separation are.
What Aspects Does A Legal Separation Agreement Cover
The legal separation agreement is supposed to cover all the issues that are to be finalized in your final decree of divorce. In case you have children, there will be a few points documented in the legal separation agreement. The custody agreement that both of you have agreed upon will be stated, along with the amount of child support you will be required to pay or receive. In some cases, the legal separation agreement acts as precedence to the subsequent divorce.
Being legally separated means that you will lawfully remain married while you are living separate lives. Some aspects that can or will be included in your legal separation agreement are; schedules for visitation, spousal support, and division of the marital debts and assets. A separation agreement will also have the same issues that are addressed during a divorce process. Your interests will be well protected by the separation agreement until such a time comes to file for a divorce.
Divorcing After The Separation Period?
Your legal separation agreement can serve to carry over as your divorce settlement agreement, should you choose to divorce after the period of separation, assuming that you are happy with the agreement of your separation. This is why you must have a solid separation agreement that will be acceptable for you in the long term.
However, if you do not want to continue with the terms mentioned in the separation agreement, the courts can draw up a separate agreement for your divorce settlement. You will need to petition the court to do it. When drawing up the new divorce settlement agreement, the legal separation agreement can be used as a reference to determine the terms of the divorce.
How Can You Use A Legal Separation To Your Advantage
Although both divorce and legal separation share many things in common, you may be better off getting a legal separation rather than a divorce. Some of the reasons are:
Gives You Time To Think
When you are legally separated, you live away from your partner and can escape the marriage conflicts and contemplate the divorce and everything that it brings to the table. Sometimes, the separation period can act as a cooling down period when you are struggling with several conflicts in your marriage. Many couples try out counseling during this time to come up with new techniques to deal with the conflicts in the marriage.
Allows You To Continue To Enjoy Financial Stability
For women who have not worked for an extended period, legal separation can actually be a better option, as it allows you to have a few benefits that a divorce would inevitably disrupt. For instance, your health insurance benefits remain intact during legal separation – which a divorce will end. This way, you can still enjoy a few of the benefits of being married while living separately from your partner.
Adhering To Your Religious Beliefs
Many religions frown upon the concept of getting a divorce, while some religions downright forbid it. So if you follow a religion that forbids you from getting a divorce or one in which you will face hardships from your community for getting a divorce, you may consider getting a legal separation instead. This way, you will not have to deal with the stigma of divorce while still not having to stay in an unhappy marriage.
Staying Married For 10 Years In A Military Marriage
The Uniformed Services Former Spouse Protection Act.1? allows you a few benefits if you are a military spouse and have remained married for at least ten years. So it would serve you best if you can retain your marriage for at least ten years. A judge does practice great discretion, though, when the issue of splitting assets arises in a military divorce.
Taking Advantage Of Social Security Benefits
As a spouse, you will benefit more from social security benefits if you manage to stay married for ten years or more. If you have been married for ten years or longer, you will continue to enjoy some social security retirement benefits when your spouse (or ex) retires. This will only be possible if your spouse’s social security benefits are higher than yours after they are retired. So it would be to your advantage to stay married till the age of retirement of your spouse.
Converting Your Legal Separation Agreement Into A Divorce Settlement Agreement
If you decide to go through with the divorce at the end of the legal separation period, you can convert your legal separation agreement into the divorce settlement agreement. Once you have made the final decision to continue with the divorce converting the legal separation agreement into the divorce settlement agreement will save you the cost, time, and energy of having to go through a lengthy process in family court to draw up a new divorce settlement.
As you may have deciphered from this article, there are quite a few differences between staying legally separated and getting a divorce. We hope this article will help you determine which option works best for your circumstances. Ending a marriage is a serious decision that can have lifelong implications on your finances and your life. Therefore, please think through the matter and weigh in all your options before making a final decision.