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Legal Separation vs. Divorce: What Should I Do?

Legal Separation vs. Divorce: What Should I Do?

For many people, legal separation and divorce sound like the same process – however, these two processes are completely different. When you enter into divorce proceedings, you are breaking your legal bond to each other and are no longer married. When you file for legal separation with the help of an Indianapolis legal separation attorney, you are still legally married to your spouse, but no longer live together.

Since these legal processes differ, choosing which path to take depends on your unique situation. Divorce may be more beneficial to some couples, while others may find that legal separation is more appropriate for them. When you are deciding whether to legally separate from your spouse or file for divorce, make sure to take the following considerations into mind.

The Possibility of Remarriage

The main difference between legal separation and divorce is that you are still married to your spouse during a legal separation. You will need to consider if remarriage is a possibility in either of your futures – if it is, divorce is the better option. When you legally separate, the courts do now allow you to remarry another person until you file for divorce from your current spouse. When you file for divorce, you are free to remarry whoever you choose to.

Your Financial Situation and Benefits

Depending on your financial situation, divorce or legal separation may seem like a better option than the other. When you legally separate, you are still technically married and you handle your finances in the same way you have in the past. You file your taxes jointly, receive the same insurance benefits, and maintain the same financial benefits you have enjoyed as a married couple in the past.

However, a legal separation may not be the best option in the long run for finances, especially your spouse earns less than you do or if you do not trust your spouse to manage your assets. Living apart gives you less control over what your spouse spends or invests in, and you could be liable for any legal issues. In these situations, divorce may be a preferable option.

How Soon You Want to Leave Your Spouse

Next, you may want to consider how quickly you want to end your attachment to your spouse. When you legally separate, you are able to leave your spouse faster than with a divorce. While you are still technically married, you do not have to live together and can leave your marital home without having to wait for your divorce to conclude.

You could legally separate first, and file for divorce later on. Under a divorce agreement, it may take longer for you to be able to leave your spouse. You may have to wait for a statutory period to pass before you can enjoy the legal benefits of divorce. If this is not an issue for you, you can choose the divorce route right away.

 Your Religious Beliefs

Another consideration you may want to think about is your religious beliefs. If you and your spouse cannot receive a divorce due to your religious beliefs, legal separation can provide a solution. You are subject to the same benefits of marriage and are still technically married, but do not have to live together.

The Possibility of Reconciliation

Finally, you will need to consider whether you and your spouse may get back together in the future. Reconciliation is much easier in separation than a divorce – you can choose to get back together whenever you choose. When you file for divorce, you will have to get married to your spouse again.

Whether you are filing for divorce or legal separation, having a family attorney on your side is crucial. You want to ensure that you protect your financial and personal interests during your divorce or separation proceedings, and an attorney can advocate on your behalf. A family law attorney can provide guidance on whether a divorce or legal separation is right for you. Contact an Indianapolis family law attorney today for more information.