Ending a marriage is never an easy decision to make. Sometimes, however, it is the best choice for both parties. Before the divorce process begins, couples typically undergo some form of separation. Though they remain legally married, they live apart. If children are involved, responsibly is often (but not always) shared between the two parties.
Of course, a separation doesn’t have to end in divorce. Some couples separate for a time so that they can get a clear perspective on what’s going on and rediscover themselves.
Whatever your ultimate intention is, it’s important to understand the different options available for separation and how they work.
The Degrees of Separation
The process of separation can be confusing. Technically speaking, a married couple is free to separate and live apart as they choose. If they do this without involving the courts, they effectively enter into a trial separation. A trial separation may be due to ongoing stress, continued tension, a personal event taking place, or any other reason that results in you needing space.
Because there are no court-binding orders issued, you will need to be able to agree on terms with your spouse. Though no documentation is needed, it’s a good idea to write out an informal agreement. Trial separations typically require a degree of amicability between both parties. Often, couples who enter a trial separation are open to getting back together in the future, though this isn’t necessarily the case.
A legal separation is a court order that clearly defines rules and responsibilities of each party without dissolving the marriage. This includes property division, spousal support (also known as alimony), parenting responsibilities, child support, and more.
If you don’t plan to ever get back together with your spouse, you can enter into a permanent separation. This separates any current assets, property, debts, etc., similar to how a divorce would. Moving forward, any new assets, property, or debt acquired by one party is not the responsibility of the other.
Some couples choose to remain in a permanent separation rather than properly divorcing due to financial, religious, or personal reasons. However, because you are legally married, you will be unable to remarry while you’re in a permanent separation.
Talking to a Lawyer Sooner Rather Than Later
If you’re looking to enter any sort of separation from your spouse, it’s important to talk to a lawyer as soon as possible. Marriage separations can be very complex, emotional, and unpredictable. Even if you fully plan to reunite with your spouse one day, an experienced attorney can be vital in helping you navigate the process.
At Michael T. Edwards, we provide personalized legal representation for your needs. It’s our goal to help you fully understand your options so you can make informed and effective decisions. Wherever you’re at in the process, don’t hesitate to reach out and schedule a free consultation.
For a dependable divorce attorney in the Springfield, Ohio area, you can trust in Michael T. Edwards.