Choosing Between a Legal Separation and Divorce

It is not an easy decision to decide between a legal separation and a divorce. Why? This is because there are a number of things that a husband and wife may not be aware of and need to consider them before arriving at a decision. They often end up wondering when couples decide to file for a marital legal separation and when divorce is a better decision. You should bear in mind that every situation and circumstances are different and the same rules cannot be applied to everyone. However, there is no harm in understanding why some people prefer getting legally separated and some opt to get a divorce.

Reasons for Legal Separation

  • Uncertainty: A legal separation is a good idea for a couple when they are not certain if they wish to end their marriage. In the event that they decide to reconcile in the future, it is possible to reserve a legal separation, but the same cannot be said in the case of divorce. With a separation, the marriage is not dissolved so there is no need to ‘remarry’.
  • Religion or Personal Preference: For some couples, it is better to file for a legal separation when neither of them have any plans of remarrying in the future and just don’t want to terminate their marriage. This could be their personal preference or because of religious and cultural restrictions. You can choose to draft a Virginia separation agreement because you wish to live separately, but still want to maintain the vows you made at the time of marriage.
  • Children: There are numerous situations where parents hesitate in filing for a divorce due to the impact it has on their children. They may decide to get legally separated simply for postponing a divorce until their kids have moved out or are old enough to understand.
  • Necessary Division: Depending on the state you live in, entering into a martial legal separation agreement is a requirement before filing for divorce. This gives the couple enough time to resolve their issues about child custody, division of property, child support etc. This will prevent their assets and debts from being further intertwined during the separation period.

Reasons for Divorce

  • Certainty: When you are sure you don’t want to live with each other, there is no point in delaying the inevitable and you can file for a divorce.
  • Remarriage: A couple cannot remarry if they are separated legally, but a divorce allows them to date other people and get married again. Thus, if any one or both of the partner wish to move on with their lives, they can decide to terminate the marriage by getting a divorce.

Regardless of which route you choose to go, you will need the expertise of a family lawyer to help you in filling out the legal forms and understanding the consequences of your decision. They will be able to take the essential steps on your behalf to get the matter resolved as soon as possible and to give you peace of mind.