If you are contemplating a legal separation from your spouse, you may be curious about the risks and benefits of living apart. For instance, will legal separation automatically lead to divorce?
While everyone’s marriage is unique, studies show that less than 15% of couples reconcile after a separation. Both spouses must work together to mend a marriage. Whereas only one spouse must choose divorce to terminate a legal union.
What is a Legal Separation?
A legal separation is similar to a divorce in that all significant marital issues are decided and ruled upon by the court like:
- Marital property and debt;
- Spousal support;
- Child custody and visitation; and
- Child support.
However, the spouses are still legally married. They may choose to proceed with the divorce at a later date or reconcile.
The Benefits of Legal Separation
Not only can spouses stay married and easily reunite after legal separation, but they may also do the following while legally separated:
- File taxes jointly;
- Remain on one another’s health coverage;
- Keep receiving certain government benefits;
- Avoid faith-related divorce issues;
- Participate in a trial separation rather than divorce;
- Clearly define financial and parenting responsibilities; and
- Meet any residency requirements for a California divorce.
Legal separation need not be a stepping stone to divorce. Recognizing there is a problem can present an opportunity to save a marriage.
Can Legal Separation Save a Marriage?
Legal separation can offer a marriage and spouses the ability to reset and recover from the stress and conflict brought on by life’s obstacles. Pulling away and distancing oneself from a spouse can bring healing, clearer thinking and open one up to listening and reengaging with a partner.
Although the number is low statistically, some couples reignite interest in rebuilding their marriage and working together with their partners after a legal separation.
What is a Divorce?
If a legal separation does turn into a divorce, the legal separation order can act as a blueprint for a final divorce order. The main difference between a legal separation and a divorce is that a divorce is a permanent end to a marriage.
Once a divorce is decreed, both parties are free to remarry, and their legal status changes to single. Spouses lose the legal right to marital benefits such as healthcare and filing joint tax returns.
When is a Divorce Appropriate?
Not all divorces are conflict-driven. Divorces can be amicably settled with the help of an experienced family law attorney and can be the right first choice for some spouses. Before choosing between a legal separation or a divorce, speak with a Los Angeles divorce lawyer about the specifics of your case and learn what best suits your family and budget.
Remember that when there are safety and welfare issues, a divorce may be the most appropriate step toward distancing abusers from their victims. Always consult a family law attorney and notify the proper authorities if you or your child are the victims of domestic violence.
Contact an Experienced Attorney Today
Speak to an experienced California attorney at Fernandez & Karney to discuss how legal separation or divorce can impact your property, children, and financial circumstances. At Fernandez & Karney, we create tailored solutions to complex legal problems.
Do not leave your future to chance. Reach out to our skilled attorneys before taking action against your spouse. Fernandez & Karney can also assist you with any other family law needs, such as child custody and support modifications, and parentage issues.