Legal Separation vs. Divorce
Legal separations and divorces are different. They have different outcomes, although the processes for both are similar. A legal separation is sometimes called a separate maintenance action. Understanding what a legal separation is and how it functions can help you determine if it is right for you.
A Petition for Divorce asks the court to dissolve the legal marriage by bringing the marriage to an end. At the end of the process, the court issues a decree dissolving the marriage. After a waiting period, either spouse can remarry.
In a legal separation, there is no final decree of dissolution. The couple remains legally married, but they no longer live together. Instead, the court issues orders that protect both parties so that their lives are not legally entangled. However, they may not remarry at the end of this process.
In many other ways, however, divorce and legal separation are very similar. Assets and liabilities must be divided. In both, child support, custody, and visitation can be resolved. Likewise, spousal support can be ordered in both proceedings, if requested. You may request that your spouse pay attorneys’ fees in both proceedings.
The major issues must all be resolved and the couple must come to a written agreement on these issues. The agreement becomes part of the court order once the judge has approved the agreement. That means that if the couple later decides to divorce, most of the work will already have been done in terms of coming to a resolution.
If you’re considering a divorce, consult with a skilled divorce attorney at Wagoner’s Wirth Law Office.
Why Choose Legal Separation Over Divorce?
There are many reasons why a couple may opt for separation over divorce. One of the most common is simply that a couple may not be sure about divorce. A divorce is final. All relationships have rough patches. Sometimes, a couple may want to try to weather a rough patch and see how things work out. Separation can help. It gives a couple some breathing room. They do not live together during the separation, and their financial lives are disentangled.
A separation can be especially useful in situations when a couple is struggling with substance abuse issues. Recovery can take time and often a spouse in early recovery may need time and distance to sort things out.
Other times, a couple may want to stay married for religious reasons while living apart. When a divorce is unacceptable because of religious reasons, a separation can help a couple move on with their lives while still complying with religious mores.
Finally, a couple may have financial reasons for choosing a separation. People must continue to be married for employer-provided health care to continue to cover a dependent spouse. In a divorce, spousal support must have an end date. In a separation, spousal support does not have to have an end date. This can extend the duration that a spouse can receive support.
An experienced Wagoner family law attorney can help you decide which is right for you. Bring your questions and concerns to your Wirth Law Office attorney today.
Free Consultation with a Wagoner Divorce Attorney
Wirth Law Office – Wagoner offers its clients the best possible divorce, child custody, and child support representation in the Wagoner, Oklahoma area at reasonable rates. Get the help you need.
We invite you to schedule a free consultation to discuss what we can do for you. Contact Wirth Law Office – Wagoner at (918) 485-0335 to schedule your free consultation. You can also fill out the form at the top of the page.