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What is Legal Separation and Why You May Consider That Over a Divorce?

What is Legal Separation and Why You May Consider That Over a Divorce?

unhappy woman and man sitting on couch looking away from each other contemplating legal separation

Wondering what to do with your marriage when things aren’t going smoothly is an unenviable predicament.  Few events rival divorce or legal separation in terms of producing stress, sadness and confusion.  Couples with children, joint property and assets, face an even bigger challenge.  In this post, I’ll discuss some features of legal separation as an alternative to divorce for spouses who have decided they can no longer live together.

Legal Separation: An Option for Everyone?

The greatest appeal of legal separation is probably also its primary shortcoming.   When separated, you are just that – in somewhat of a matrimonial limbo.  The arrangement works out well for some, and not so well for others.  For decisive individuals, moving straight to divorce may be the likely path.  For people who want to get used to being apart and separating their lives, legal separation may be preferable.  Let’s take a look at what legal separation entails and what it means for couples.

Legal separation is a legal process where debts, assets, financial support, and custody are typically settled.  The settlement is filed with the court and the spouses are legally separated. However, in Nevada, unlike California, the community estate continues until divorce.  In California the community estate ends at separation.  In my experience, legal separation is primarily an option for couples who seek to still remain on each other’s health insurance benefits, and also for couples who have religious or personal concerns with divorce.

Separating Legally Gets You the Help You Need

As the name suggests, legal separation is very much a legal process.  Many topics that prove difficult for divorcing couples are addressed during a separation.  For this reason, it’s advisable to approach the process with the assistance of a family law attorney who can help navigate the turbulence of separating lives and establishing new norms for each other, children and assets.  Schedule a consultation and learn which options are available and what might work best for your situation.  Going through the process with the guidance of an attorney will alleviate much of the stress and ensure that your best interests and well-being are fairly represented.