The Difference Between Divorce and Legal Separation

There are many options for a couple that doesn’t want to stay together. There is divorce for the ones, who need to put an end to their marriage. Couples can also go for annulment that would invalidate their marriage as an incident that never happened.

Then there is legal separation, which is a better option for a couple having kids. While the alimony calculation, child support etc remains the same in case of both divorce and legal separation, there are few distinction between divorce and legal separation procedures. Here are some of the basic differences:

Termination of marriage in divorce

While divorce can effectively terminate the marriage, legal separation only terminates the relationship between the couple without affecting their legal marital status. The couple is still married in the eyes of law. Separated couple can live separately, but that does not put an end to their marriage.

Couples who want to give their marriage a second chance by taking a break from each other or those to whom their kids’ emotional stability is very important often resorts to separation rather than divorce. This ultimately also eliminates the option of remarriage for both the husband and the wife.

Reasons for separation and divorce

There are many reasons because of which a couple may opt for separation. For some, their religion doesn’t allow them to divorce their spouses, in which case separation becomes their only option. In some cases, the spouses look at the benefits of legal separation like social and medical security.

After divorce these benefits get divided, but both partners can still share the benefits just as they used to when they were married. Sometimes, kids are at the center of the couples’ decisions. It may be less traumatic for kids, if their parents opt for a separation in place of a divorce. A divorce can prove to be very devastating for kids.

The Differences

There are some major differences in the way divorce and legal separation is filed. In general, the legal procedures for finalizing a divorce take longer than a separation. The documents involved in divorce and legal separation also differ. Should you have any doubts, you can always contact a divorce lawyer for further details.

A legal separation can lead to divorce

If a separation doesn’t work for a couple even after having put efforts, it is advisable that they get divorced but this doesn’t hold good the other way around. That is, if the couple has already got divorced, there is no way for them to go back and file for a separation. If the couple have reached the cul-de-sac in their marriage and have no hopes of reviving it whatsoever, divorce is the way to go.

Trial before divorce

Legal separation is like a trial period for the couple. It might not always lead to divorce. Some couples may realize that they can stay together and that divorce is not their only option. Legal separation could be the time for both the spouses to think over again and give their marriage a second chance.

If all works well, they may remain a happy family. The choice between a separation and divorce is in the hands of the couple. There are pros and cons to both but resorting to divorce without giving the relationship a second chance might not be the best thing couples do.

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