What is the difference between legal separation and divorce?

On behalf of Stange Law Firm, PC posted in Family Law on Thursday, November 6, 2014.

Every marriage is unique and each partner within the marriage has concerns that are important to them. The distinct interests that each partner in a married couple has may also impact their choices if the marital relationship breaks down.

The particular characteristics of a marriage and the individuals in it are seen when a couple creates their own vows or when they choose to have both a religious as well as civil ceremony so they are considered married in accordance with their beliefs as well as for legal purposes.

These specific interests when getting married are often still a concern for Missouri couples contemplating divorce and can influence a couple’s decision on whether legal separation or divorce, also known legally as dissolution of the marriage, is right for them.

Legal separation and dissolution of marriage are identical in many ways. Issues such as property division, child custody and spousal support are decided under both so the need for a knowledgeable family law attorney is important regardless of the path you decide to take.

Legal separation may not be used as often as divorce, but may be desirable if the couple would like to stay legally married for insurance or financial reasons, to continue to provide stability for their children or because of closely-held religious beliefs.

Another reason for why couples choose legal separation over dissolution of marriage is if they believe that reconciliation is a real possibility. A judgment for legal separation can be set aside by a judge through a motion to do so by either spouse. A judgment for dissolution of marriage cannot be set aside. If the couple would like to resume their marriage, they can only do so by getting remarried.

A family law attorney can help explain the various options available to you and your partner so you can choose the best path for your future.

Source: FindLaw, “Legal Separation vs. Divorce,” Accessed Nov. 6, 2014

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