Long-Term Separation: Is It Right For You?

If you and your spouse are considering separation or divorce, you may be wondering about the benefits of both and whether choosing long-term separation over divorce is possible. To learn more about separation, the different kinds of separation, and whether long-term separation is right for you, continue below.

What is the Purpose of Separation?

Separation is a legal process that, in some states, is required prior to divorce. For some couples, separation is a way to see how divorce will impact their lives, while for others, separation is a time for introspection and marriage counseling.

Couples who separate are not necessarily on the fast track towards divorce. In fact, marriage counselors have been using therapeutic separation as a way to strengthen the relationship and actually prevent divorce.  

The Different Kinds of Separation

There are a number of different types of separation with the three most common being trial, legal, and permanent.

During a trial separation, you and your spouse may be living apart but for all intents and purposes you're still legally married. There is no property division or child support requirements. Trial separation is usually done under the guidance of a counselor or mediator. Legal separation is a legal status and involves property division, child custody agreements, and child support payments. During a legal separation, you're no longer considered married but unless you divorce officially, you're unable to remarry. Permanent situation is a separation without the intent of getting back together. This can be done through the courts or not.

Is Long-Term Separation Right for You?

There are a number of reasons that couples may choose a long-term separation over a divorce and depending on your situation, you may benefit more from separation.

Religion is one common reason that some couples may choose to separate instead of divorce. Other reasons include keeping health insurance and other benefits that would be cut off upon divorce or simply wishing to keep the family legally intact or the sake of the children. Whatever your reasons, it's important to understand that long-term separation is a valid choice and many couples choose it over divorce.

If you're considering long-term separation, it's important to speak with a family law attorney about the benefits and drawbacks. Each situation is different, and an experienced family law attorney can help you to better understand the implications of each choice and help you decide which one is better for you. 

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