If you’re opposed to divorce for whatever reason but your marriage is on the rocks, legal separation may be an option for you and your spouse.
Legal Separation at a Glance
In a nutshell, legal separation doesn’t end your marriage even though you and your spouse are living under different roofs. Like divorce, legal separation is accompanied by a court order that establishes the rights and responsibilities for both of you. Issues such as child custody and support, division of marital assets and debts are also covered by the court order.
While it’s legal in most U.S. states, legal separation is not allowed in Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Mississippi, Pennsylvania and Texas.
Benefits of Choosing Legal Separation
In addition to giving you and your spouse a bit of a break to see if you both truly feel that the marriage is over, legal separation can be an attractive option because:
- You may be able to remain covered under the other’s health insurance
- It limits your vulnerability to being on the hook for any debt your spouse runs up
- It can carry you past the 10-year rule for being eligible for receiving any of your spouse’s Social Security benefits
- As you’re still technically married, any future children the two of you have will be considered “legitimate”
- You’re both able to keep your marital status to appease any religious concerns
- The legal separation agreement can easily be adapted to a divorce agreement
Negatives of Choosing Legal Separation
Just as with practically any other choice in life, legal separation comes with its own set of cons. Some of the more common ones include:
- The fresh start you long for is not possible because your marriage is still intact
- Time with your children will most likely be decreased
- Just as the adaptability to a divorce agreement can be a benefit, it can also be a negative because there’s typically no renegotiating
The Men’s Legal Center Can Help You
As you can tell, divorce is not the only option to consider if your marriage is in trouble. If you’re considering divorce or legal separation, we’d welcome the opportunity to speak with you more. Contact the San Diego offices of the Men’s Legal Center at (619) 234-3838.