Nobody relishes the prospect of ending a marriage. A legal separation order establishes both the couple’s rights and duties while they remain married but live apart, while a divorce accomplishes the reverse. Both agreements financially separate the parties and provide legal oversight of child custody and support, spousal support, and debt management, all of which are necessary for a successful divorce. On the other hand, a divorce is the complete dissolution of a marriage.
What Is a Legal Separation?
When you get a legal separation in Indiana, it is analogous to suspending your marriage. Both spouses, on average, divorce and begin living separate lives. On the other hand, a legal separation is significantly more formal than just splitting up. The initial steps would be to get a judge’s validation of your decision and prepare a legal separation agreement.
Your formal separation agreement addresses all the issues that would be discussed at a final divorce decision. If there are children involved, your child support payments and receipts will be documented. Additionally, the agreement reached between the spouses about child custody will be recorded.
You are still married but have chosen to live an independent lifestyle. A separation agreement may address the division of marital assets and debts, child custody and support, visitation schedules, and spousal maintenance. It addresses the same issues that are discussed during the divorce process and may protect your interests if you and your spouse decide to separate.
Comparative and Distinctive Characteristics of Legal Separation and Divorce
With the help of a legal separation attorney or divorce lawyer, the court makes the following determinations in both divorce and legal separation proceedings:
- Separation maintenance – legal separation comprises the equivalents of alimony and child support but is distinct from the impacts of divorce and is often accomplished by a “motion pending litigation.”
- Property division in a legal separation or divorce is determined by the couple’s circumstances and how they influence their property.
- Child visitation and custody
Divorce and separation each have different benefits and drawbacks. The most apparent difference between a legal separation and a divorce is that divorce dissolves the marriage. Additional distinctions include the following:
- Social Security and other benefits, like health insurance, usually canceled when a couple gets a divorce, could be kept during a legal separation.
- You cannot remarry until you have obtained a divorce, which means that if you are separated, you cannot marry again until you have received a divorce.
- A divorced spouse is not considered next of kin and can thus not make medical or financial decisions on behalf of their ex-spouse.
- Unlike in a divorce, when both spouses’ debts are handled during the dissolution process, both spouses may still be held liable for each other’s responsibilities throughout a legal separation.
- Each spouse has legal rights to property benefits in the event of the death of the other, but these rights are lost if the couple divorces.
Divorce is irreversible; formal separation facilitates healing. If you want to reconcile with your ex after a divorce, you must enter a new marriage. For a variety of reasons, legal separation is a preferable alternative to divorce. Frequently, the decision between divorce and legal separation is a personal one. A legal separation is an option for those who cannot divorce due to religious or personal reasons. Even though you have been officially divorced, you remain inextricably linked.
Formal separation may act as a temporary stumbling block in the case of divorce. This strategy enables couples to maintain their marriage while addressing their fundamental life difficulties (custody and financial challenges). You may reverse a legal separation. After a divorce, there is no going back.
Legal separations may also be more comfortable for your children since you are still married, and it does not seem to them to be as traumatic or final as divorce. Depending on the reasons for the divorce, you may need to first separate. In many circumstances, a six-month or one-year waiting period for divorce is necessary.
Trial Separation, Property Division, and Permanent Separation
A trial separation has no legal consequences and is merely evaluated in terms of the duration of the marriage. Any property or debt acquired during the marriage can be declared the marital property in the case of a trial separation.
Under certain circumstances, it is conceivable for a couple to live apart with no intention of remarrying. Additionally, couples seeking a no-fault divorce must live apart for a specified period before filing for divorce in certain jurisdictions. Cohabitation may have an impact on property division.
Depending on the state of residence of the spouse, property, and debt obtained while living apart are classified differently. If one or both spouses desire a divorce, some states will categorize the marital property according to that classification.
When a couple chooses to end their relationship, it is considered a permanent breakup. If one of the parties applies for legal separation in court, the break will probably not affect the marriage’s status. In most jurisdictions, it is customary to treat the acquisition of property and debts after a divorce as separate property of the spouse who acquired them.
Obligations incurred by either spouse during a permanent separation but before a final divorce are considered joint obligations. These commitments may include mortgage payments, house maintenance, and childcare fees.
Separation in Order to Obtain a Divorce
Separation is necessary for several states before filing for divorce on specific grounds. Before you can get a divorce, you may be required to wait six months or a year in which you live separately and apart.
In certain states, a legal separation may be used to initiate divorce proceedings. When you construct your separation agreement, live under it for a period, and then convert it to a divorce order after a period, you address all the difficulties.