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Which is better: legal separation or divorce?

Unfortunately, it is difficult for a divorce attorney to tell his or her client to choose one option over another. In the end, it is up to the spouses to decide which choice best meets their needs. However, what a divorce attorney can do to help married couples discover their best option is to help them understand what each term means.

Since most people already know what a divorce is, it is probably best to focus a bit more on the legal separation option. This post will cover what comprises a legal separation and talk about what benefits this kind of separation could offer to a married couple considering divorce.

There is more than one type of separation but a legal one requires action through the court system. For example, it must be approved by a court before the order can occur. By contrast, the couple typically arranges and manages an informal outside of a court setting. In a legal separation, some of the same issues are dealt with that come up in a divorce such as property division and child support or custody. However, the couple will remain married despite making these arrangements and living apart.

As far as benefits go, there are many provided by a legal separation.

-- The spouses will not suffer much of the stigma attached to divorce-- The couple can easily reunite if they so desire-- Numerous financial and tax benefits of remaining legally married-- Simplification of financial and property issues-- Adherence to religious doctrines that may prohibit divorce

While legal separations are rare, they could provide an excellent solution for couples who care for one another and do not wish to divorce but have difficulty living together. For North Carolina readers who are weighing the benefits of divorce or legal separation, it is a good idea to speak with a divorce attorney before moving forward.

Source: FindLaw, "Legal Separation vs. Divorce," accessed May. 18, 2015

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