Legal Separation vs. Divorce
When making decisions regarding the state of a marriage, it is important to understand the ramifications of your choices. There are several differences between legal separations and divorce; understanding the difference between these will help both parties make the right decision.
There are two types of separations: Legal Separations and Trial Separations. Trial Separations are not legally binding or recorded on paper; it simply means that the husband and wife have decided to live in separate households for an undetermined period of time. The marriage is not dissolved, and there is no need to obtain the services of an attorney or file any paperwork with the courts. With a legal separation, however, things are more legally documented. Each party to the marriage must seek the services of an attorney, and a separation agreement must be drawn up and adjudicated in the courts. Each party’s legal and financial obligations are set forth in the terms of the separation agreement. Child custody and other marital issues are also put in writing in this agreement. However, the couple remains legally married and unable to enter into another marriage.
A divorce is a full dissolution of the marriage. The couple dissolves any legal and marital ties to each other. Finances and legal obligations are separated and divided between each spouse. Each spouse will have an attorney to represent them, and a judge will set forth the terms of the divorce in the divorce decree. Once the divorce is final, the former husband and wife have no further obligation to each other and are completely single in the eyes of the law; free to enter into another relationship as they choose.
There are benefits to both separations and divorces. It is up to the couple to decide which solution works best for their situation. If the parties wish to make a complete break from each other, divorce is obviously the best choice. If they are unable to completely divorce due to personal beliefs, the need for health insurance or other obligations, a separation is most likely the answer.