If you and your spouse can’t stop arguing and have considered divorce, perhaps you should try legal separation first. A legal separation agreement is a document signed by both parties that outlines issues such as spousal support, alimony, and living arrangements during this period.
Learn more about legal separation.
Understanding Legal Separation
Many people confuse legal separation with divorce, but they aren’t interchangeable. Divorce is permanent, whereas legal separation is temporary. Some couples discover a brief split is just what they needed to work through their problems, and it may strengthen their marriage. Others develop newfound freedom and grow uninterested in marriage, so the separation leads to divorce.
See how a legal separation can benefit your relationship.
What Are the Benefits of Legal Separation?
Believe it or not, legal separation can help you repair your marriage, and it may even enhance it. Spending too much time with one person leads to inevitable arguments, but after staying away from each other for a few months, communication between both of you may strengthen.
Some advantages include:
- Retaining your marital status for religious reasons
- Retaining military benefits
- Giving a couple a few months to live independently to see if divorce is right for them. A separation agreement establishes how everything will be handled while the couple lives apart.
- Remaining married for a decade to qualify for social security benefits
- Continuing to receive insurance benefits through your spouse’s coverage
- Enjoying tax benefits by continuing to file them jointly
- Protecting your financial interests. Assets and debts acquired during separation are separate property.
Ultimately, if a couple proceeds with divorce, a judge can convert their separation agreement into a divorce agreement.
Take separation seriously because if you and your spouse end up splitting permanently, a judge may assume you’re both fine with the arrangements made in the separation agreement. They may rule there’s no basis to make drastic changes to a divorce agreement, so don’t agree to anything you can’t live with.
How Can I Make Separation Go Smoothly?
Although separation isn’t permanent, it’s still a difficult period of uncertainty. Here are three guidelines you can follow to help you get through this:
- Seek Support: Although some people keep to themselves, it’s best to reach out to your friends and family during separation. Isolating yourself might only make you feel sadder, and it may lead to a streak of un-productivity.
- Set Ground Rules: Ground rules are a must to retain trust between both parties. For example, if one spouse expects daily updates, but the other doesn’t want to communicate during separation, this may harm your chances of mending the marriage. Communicate expectations before going separate ways.
- Define Goals: Remember, you and your spouse may not share the same end goal. Perhaps you want to end the marriage permanently, but they want to work things out. Discuss the possible final result of the separation every few weeks so both parties are on the same page and can plan their future accordingly.
Contact The Ault Firm, P.C.
If you’re certain legal separation is right for you, but are afraid of experiencing a negative outcome, you should work with a legal separation attorney. An experienced attorney from The Ault Firm can provide you with sound legal advice and represent you in court. Contact us today.