What Is The Difference Between Legal Separation & Divorce?

Marriage is a union between two people that requires commitment, sacrifice, and a willingness to work together to overcome life’s obstacles.

While every marriage requires a lot of work to be successful, in many cases there comes a time when a couple might reach the point that they can no longer resolve their differences and a decision needs to be made between separating or getting divorced.

Both separation and divorce can be a means to end a marriage, but only a divorce will legally dissolve the marriage. If a couple becomes legally separated, they will live in separate homes and live separate lives. They will also adhere to a court order that mandates their rights and duties, much like they would in a divorce, but unlike a divorce, they will still be considered married under the law.

Why Choose Legal Separation Over Divorce?

Making the decision to divorce is never easy because it officially and legally dissolves the marriage. As a result, there may be reasons why a couple might want to choose legal separation over divorce. A separation might be a better solution if:

  • You are not 100 percent sure you want to end your marriage
  • You need space to figure out the future of your marriage while still protecting yourself financially
  • You can’t go through a divorce for religious reasons
  • You would lose your health insurance coverage from your spouse’s job with a divorce
  • You and your spouse want to continue filing taxes jointly
  • You aren’t yet eligible to receive Social Security or military benefits from your spouse’s work

Why Choose Divorce Over Separation?

While there are several benefits to getting legally separated, there can also be situations where choosing divorce is the best solution. Divorce might make the best sense in situations where:

  • You want to end your marriage completely
  • There is no financial benefit to be gained from becoming separated
  • You have already moved on from your spouse and want to get remarried
  • You do not want your spouse to have the ability to make medical or financial decisions for you in the event you become incapacitated in some way

Mediation Can Help You and Your Spouse Reach a Fair Separation or Divorce Agreement

Whether you choose separation or divorce, you and your spouse will have a lot of details to work out to ensure one is not leaving the marriage with substantially more than the other. Mediation can be a valuable tool to help you and your spouse communicate, so you can peacefully negotiate important things like child custody and support, spousal support, property distribution, and debt management.

If you want help creating a fair separation or divorce agreement, Mediation Professionals of Long Island can help. Our skilled and compassionate mediators are experienced in helping couples communicate with each other in a peaceful and low-stress environment, so more positive outcomes can be reached. Let us help you and your spouse reach an amicable result, contact us today at 646-992-7440 or click here to send us a message.

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