A legal separation is an option that many people explore, either as a trial period to see if the divorce is really what they want or for other personal or financial reasons. However, it’s important to understand that a legal separation is not the same as “taking a break” or having an on-again-off-again relationship with someone.
Just like a court order for a divorce, a separation agreement must be followed or modified if need be through the proper legal channels. This is why it’s very important to understand exactly what you’re agreeing to and what you will need to do later on if there is an issue.
Because those who choose to go through a separation instead of a divorce are still legally married, there are many misconceptions about what can be done with finances. For instance, child support may still come into play even though the marriage is technically intact. This is because the parties will be maintaining separate households, which means more expenses. If child support would have been awarded in the event of a divorce, it is likely to also be a factor in the separation.
If you are interested in a legal separation but aren’t sure if it’s a viable option for your situation, it’s important to start off by talking to a lawyer about your rights, choices and expectations. This ensures that you understand the differences between the separation and a divorce, the issues unique to a separation and what you may need to do later on if you decide to completely terminate the marriage.
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