What is the Difference Between Separation and Divorce?
If you are thinking about ending your marriage, you are likely facing one of the most challenging decisions of your life. There are many factors involved and couples may struggle for a long time before deciding what the best choice is for them and their family. Whether you are considering a legal separation or a divorce, it’s understandable to have questions — and the divorce lawyers at Destiny Law are here to help you navigate this difficult time.
Legal Separation vs Divorce
When making this type of life-changing decision, it’s important to consider all of your options. Splitting up could mean you and your spouse get a divorce or a legal separation. Legal separation and divorce are both legally binding contracts that outline the terms of your separation. Couples often negotiate the terms of property division, spousal support, child custody, and child support. While the two are similar and the legal procedures are the same, there is one critical difference. At the end of a legal separation, the parties are still married, even though they live separate lives; whereas, at the end of a divorce, they are no longer married and they are able to remarry in the future.
A separation agreement covers the period of time after you separate and before your divorce is finalized with the court. A separation agreement must be in writing and signed by both spouses to be valid.
A separation agreement addresses important terms of the separation. For example, it might include:
- How to split up parental rights and responsibilities
- How marital property and debt are divided
- The amount of child support set and who will pay support
- If a spouse will provide financial support to the other
- If a spouse will remain on the other’s medical insurance
The terms of the separation agreement may be adjusted or merged into the divorce decree if the spouses choose so. However, the court must always consider the best interest of the children, if the parties cannot reach an agreement.
Should You Separate or Get a Divorce?
Legal separation can be thought of as a trial run for a divorce. It provides a much-needed break for spouses to work through the issues affecting their marriage and determine their next step, whether it is reconciliation, continuing to stay separated, or moving forward with a divorce.
Reasons couples may choose to separate rather than divorce include:
- Religious/moral reasons
- To remain on one spouse’s medical insurance
- Tax benefits that are given to married couples
- Divorce feels too permanent
- They want to live apart but want the court to create a legal agreement that addresses child custody and support
Contact Our Arkansas Separation & Divorce Lawyers
The end of a legal relationship can be difficult and complicated, that’s why it is ideal to have an attorney on your side. At Destiny Law, we are committed to helping our clients navigate the separation and divorce process. We fight for the best possible outcome for the entire family while also protecting your rights.
Our Little Rock and Hot Springs, Arkansas legal separation and divorce lawyers offer one-hour consultations for a set fee to evaluate your case with you. We will explain to you how legal separation and divorce law work and provide you with an overview of your rights. After this consultation, the required retainer and costs can then be estimated.Contact Our Divorce/Separation Lawyers