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Legal Separation vs. Divorce

Legal Separation vs. Divorce: How Are They Different?

When you and your spouse have made the difficult decision to end your marriage, you have two options. You can either get divorced or get a legal separation agreement. Each has its own benefits. In this blog, we discuss the difference between these two options and hopefully help you decide which will work best for your situation.

What Is a Divorce?

A divorce is an end to your marriage where you cut all legal ties. You’ll need to file papers and have it approved by the courts. You’ll also need to devise an agreement with your spouse to divide marital property and come up with a custody arrangement for your children.

What Is a Legal Separation?

A legal separation puts your marriage on hold by separating from your spouse without terminating every legal tie. You and your spouse live in separate homes, divide property, and end your financial connection, as well as work out a custody arrangement. You’ll still need a court to approve the split and come up with the legal agreement though. Divorce and legal separation are similar in many ways, so they often cost about the same and have similar processing times.

When Is a Divorce the Better Option?

When you are certain you want to end your marriage and don’t have any financial reasons to simply separate, you may want to consider a divorce instead. It will save you the time and money of getting a legal separation, only to pay for a divorce later. You’ll also need a divorce if you plan to eventually remarry.

When Is a Legal Separation the Better Option?

A legal separation can have many benefits that you won’t find with a divorce. It can protect you financially by making sure you won’t be liable for your spouse’s debts racked up after the separation date. It also gives you the necessary space and time to decide whether the marriage is truly over. If you can’t afford health insurance on your own, a legal separation also allows you to remain on your spouse’s policy, and if you’re close to meeting the 10-year marriage requirement for social security benefits, a separation will allow you to wait that out while living apart from your spouse. You may also find that filing taxes jointly offers you tax benefits that aren’t offered when you file individually, and some couples may have a religious reason for avoiding divorce. If divorce isn’t allowed in your religion, a legal separation allows you to split while still technically remaining married.

If you’re having difficulty deciding between a divorce and a legal separation, our experienced Connecticut family attorneys can help. Contact the McConnell Family Law Group to guide you through this difficult time and help you find peace through strength.

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