Should You File for Separation or Divorce?

Although many people use the words “divorce” and “separation” interchangeably, these terms actually refer to two very different legal options. Understanding the impact that separation and divorce will have on your marriage can empower you to make the right choice for your relationship and, if applicable, your children.

Couples filing for separation

When couples enter into a separation agreement, they are still legally married but have chosen to live apart. Most couples choose to separate if they feel they need distance from a relationship to gain perspective. This type of separate living, called a trial separation, is typically used as a way for a couple to decide if they can salvage a relationship, or should move forward with divorce. For couples considering divorce, the terms of a legal separation may lay the foundation for child support, division of property and spousal support in case the marriage is irreconcilable.

Additionally, couples may choose to separate because their religious beliefs do not allow for divorce. Finally, some couples may choose to separate without the intention of reconciling — called a permanent separation — to maintain access to the property, financial assets or benefits of their partner.

Couples filing for divorce

When a couple files for a divorce, it means that they are beginning the process of completely and legally dissolving their marriage. Couples must list the reason or “grounds” for initiating the process, or note that the divorce is uncontested because the relationship has broken down past the point of repair.

When one spouse files for divorce, the attorneys will negotiate toward a settlement that both parties feel comfortable agreeing to. Once the divorce settlement is finalized and signed it can never be reversed. If the spouses decide to recouple, they will need to become remarried with a new marriage license.  

If you would like to speak with an experienced attorney about divorce and separation issues, work with the respected team at Bryan L. Salamone & Associates in Long Island, New York.

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