When a couple cannot handle staying married any longer, they often rush into a divorce. While this works fine in many cases, other couples find that getting legally separated is a better option for them. There are several key differences between legal separation and divorce that you should understand before you choose which route to take. There are also reasons for choosing a legal separation first. Here are some of the top things you should know if you are trying to decide which option to use.
The Primary Difference
Before you choose either option, you should know the primary difference between legal separation and divorce. The difference that stands out the most is the permanency of a divorce. Divorce is permanent and lasting, and it is not something you can reverse. Once you divorce, your marriage ends in the eyes of the law.
Legal separation is not permanent, unlike divorce. It is temporary and can lead to divorce, but it does not have to, nor does it every time.
Reasons to Consider Legal Separation
Some couples know without a shadow of a doubt that they want to end their marriages, but other couples do not know this for sure. If you have any hesitations about getting divorced, you might not be ready to go through with it. If you are confident that you need time away from your spouse, though, a legal separation may be the right solution. Legal separation provides you with the time off that you need, without ending the marriage legally.
Secondly, you should understand that most states have cooling-off periods with divorce. A cooling-off period is a required time you must wait to get divorced from the time you file. The period time varies by state, but it is typically at least a month or two. The good news is that if you file for legal separation, this filing starts the cooling-off period. If you decide to get divorced in a few months after your legal separation, you may not have to wait any longer to meet the cooling-off requirement.
Legal separation also gives you time to think about your marriage, divorce, and options. It gives you and your spouse time to seek counseling services or any other type of help you may need. It also provides you with an agreement that you must both follow during this time.
Legal separation is a smart choice for many married couples that may be considering divorce. To learn more, talk to a legal separation lawyer about your situation.