A Compassionate Branch of Law: Family Law
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A Compassionate Branch of Law: Family Law

Family attorneys fight hard for their clients, and they often have to help those clients navigate difficult situations. Perhaps you are divorcing your spouse, and you need help securing your financial future through alimony. Or maybe you are trying to adopt a child who has been the victim of abuse, and you need a lawyer to guide you through the legal process of gaining guardianship. A good family lawyer does not just help their clients navigate the law; they help their clients move forward into better life situations. We appreciate the work these attorneys do, and we have dedicated this blog to spread the word about their profession.


A Compassionate Branch of Law: Family Law

Comparing Legal Separations With Divorce

Raymond Lee

When a couple no longer wants to be together, there is an alternative to divorce. Legal separation agreements were created to help ease the transition between the separation and the final divorce decree. To find out more about why a legal separation agreement is right for some, read on.

1. Which Is Easier: Separation or Divorce?

In terms of cost and paperwork, legal separation and divorce are remarkably similar. Both involve dealing with issues like child custody, spousal support (alimony), marital debts, and marital property. But having a legal separation agreement does not necessarily mean you have to do everything from the beginning when you divorce. A comprehensive legal separation agreement can be translated into a divorce decree quite easily as long as the provisions are still valid and both parties are in agreement.

2. Why Have a Legal Separation Agreement?

Many couples have multiple issues that cannot wait for a divorce decree to resolve. Once you are no longer living under one roof, little details like who pays what bills and who gets to live in the family home can arise. A legal separation agreement helps couples resolve those details before they become big issues that can sour the entire divorce process.

3. Not Just a Transitional Solution

Not all couples are ready to go forward with the divorce and a legal separation agreement allows them to make provisions—almost as if they were divorced—to delay the process. Some common reasons for waiting to divorce include:

  • A child or spouse is seriously ill and the couple wants to wait till the illness is stable or resolved.
  • Religious beliefs that discourage divorce.
  • Timing issues, such as a spouse who is about to become eligible for Social Security benefits.
  • A child or spouse needs to use the healthcare plan of the other spouse due to an illness.
  • You and your spouse are not certain you are ready to divorce.
  • You have not lived in your current state long enough to divorce.

Be sure to speak to a lawyer about the legal rights of separated but not divorced individuals before you create your separation agreement. In some situations, you might not be entitled to healthcare or other benefits if you are legally separated from your spouse.

You have legal options to ensure you, your spouse, and your kids are safe and taken care of. Speak to a family lawyer to find out more.