Disadvantages of a Legal Separation
Recently, the team at Hildebrand Law, PC has taken the time to explore what goes into a legal separation, what differentiates it from filing for divorce, the advantages spouses can get from taking this route, and what benefits a couple can find in a legal separation. While the benefits can make sense given certain situations and lifestyles, sometimes the separation agreement is less than agreeable for some spouses.
Even though maintaining health insurance might be an excellent draw and there are no conflicts with any personal, religious, or cultural beliefs by getting a divorce can make legal separations desirable, there are other facets of such an agreement that can deter spouses from agreeing to such an arrangement.
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Today, the Hildebrand Law, PC team wants to take a look at some of the potential disadvantages involved with legal separation agreements and why you may want to consider an alternative. If you need help with a family law matter or have questions regarding separation agreements, give the team at Hildebrand Law, PC a call.
A Legal Separation Renders You Unable to Remarry
The nature of a legal separation is to eliminate most of the obligations of a married couple while keeping the essence of the vows and legal side of marriage intact. This means that, although separated, couples that have completed a separation agreement are still betrothed to one another. Though the spouses may have some agreement regarding their respective romantic lives, a legal separation does not end the marriage in its entirety.
This means you cannot get remarried. This can make legal separation less desirable than a divorce to couples who have intentions of moving on from the current marriage, even if they find themselves benefiting in other facets of their life. The ability to marry again means the capacity to move on for some, and this can be a strong deterrent for legal separation.
Just as Much Complexity as You’d Find with a Divorce
Legal separation is often the sought-after option for couples seeking a way to maintain some marital benefits without the relationship. Because of the complexity involved, there will be a lot of proceedings, legal counsel, and paperwork. Not only do assets, debts, and credits have to addressed, the property must be divided among the spouses accordingly, and things like child custody and alimony are also calculated and ordered. With this, it becomes apparent that the work involved in setting up a legal separation agreement can be just as much, if not more than what is required for a divorce.
It is important to understand that a legal separation does not mean you get off the hook with the work and complexity that comes with filing for divorce. In some cases, filing for a legal separation can bring with it, even more, work, something that might be less than appealing for couples.
A Legal Separation May Not Be Necessary
It is not uncommon for couples to find themselves wondering what they can do to save their marriage before they settle upon divorce. In those cases, they often believe that a legal separation is an answer. Rather than seeing it for what it is, many couples have an understanding that separation is like a trial run that precedes divorce. While a trial separation can certainly serve this function, filing for a full legal separation, only to find yourself aiming for a divorce later down the line is unnecessary and could cost you more than it saves.
An informal separation can be far more useful and save you from unnecessary expenditures. A legal separation agreement is not a replacement for something like marriage counseling, or the clarity an informal separation may provide. While it might seem like the right idea at the time, the potential doubling up on court proceedings, paperwork, and legal fees alone is less than desirable. Time and money can be saved if you and your spouse figure out the best course of action before making any decisions regarding a divorce or legal separation.
Be sure to explore other avenues that can give you and your spouse clarity and assurance on your decisions before pulling the trigger. A legal separation is an option for couples who seek to maintain some of the legal and financial benefits that come with being married. While things like tax credits and the ability to keep insurance are great, sometimes a legal separation can be more trouble than it is worth for couples.
If one or both spouses have a desire to get married again, for example, a legal separation does not negate the former marriage and, as such, prevents the parties from being eligible to remarry. It is also not an effective way to explore options, as there are more efficient informal methods that can save both time and money.
Chris Hildebrand wrote this article to ensure everyone has access to information about family law in Arizona. Chris is a divorce and family law attorney at Hildebrand Law, PC. He has over 24 years of Arizona family law experience and has received multiple awards, including US News and World Report “Top Arizona Divorce Attorneys”, Phoenix Magazine “Top Divorce Law Firms”, and Arizona Foothills Magazine “Best of the Valley” award. He believes the policies and procedures he uses to get his clients through a divorce should all be guided by the principles of honesty, integrity, and, quite frankly, actually caring about what his clients are going through in a divorce or family law case. In short, his practice is defined by the success of his clients. He also manages all of the other attorneys at his firm to make sure the outcomes in their clients’ cases are successful as well.
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