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Legal separation vs. Divorce

When you are having trouble in your marriage, one of the questions you may have is if a separation is better than a divorce. With a legal separation, you'll stay married, so you won't have to worry about a long, drawn-out divorce. The fact is, though, that like a divorce, both parties will live apart and a court will still need to determine who is responsible for what in the marriage.

Legal separations are not as common as divorce, but they can be helpful. They give a couple time to work through finances, for instance, to separate them on their own time before considering divorce.

Another type of separation that may be confused with legal separation is a trial separation. This kind of separation is not legally binding. It's simply a time when a couple lives apart to decide if they want to continue a marriage. If you are in a trial separation, be wary, because any debts accrued at this point will still be shared between you and your partner. Property classifications won't change until you decide you want to get a divorce and start the process.

Living separately can also be a process required by law before you can move on to get a divorce. You may need to live apart for a year, for instance, before filing for divorce in some states. In others, the term may be shorter.

Once it's been determined that the separation is going to be permanent, a legal separation or divorce can be filed. This is when an attorney can help you through the process of filing divorce papers. Our website has more information on divorce and separations.

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The Graham.Nuckolls.Conner. Law Firm, PLLC
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