Every family law case is different. Whether you want to file for divorce or settle a custody dispute, the right solution depends on the details of the individual situation. If you are dealing with family law concerns, you will want to consider the long-term impact of any choices you make and how you can secure the best possible future. In some situations, this may mean seeking a legal separation instead of a divorce when a marital relationship is over.
Your marriage may be over, but that does not necessarily mean you have to rush in to a divorce. There are many situations in which it makes more practical, legal and financial sense to legally separate. However, like other important family law decisions, it is critical to think carefully about all options before moving forward with a specific choice.
Separation versus divorce
Legal separation is similar to divorce in many ways. The two parties will live apart, and they will have separate financial lives. There may be spousal support, child support and a formal custody and visitation schedule. Situations in which legal separation makes more sense include the following:
- One or both spouses are in the military, and it makes sense to remain married for a specific period of time in order to qualify for benefits.
- One or both spouses want to remain on the same health care plan or remain married for a specific financial purpose.
- There are religious reasons that keep a couple from moving forward with divorce.
- A couple wishes to remain married but live separately due to tax reasons.
- During a time of separation, a couple can negotiate a divorce order or decide if reconciliation is possible.
Legal separation is more than just living apart. If you want to move forward with this, you would be wise to have a formal agreement drafted in order to reduce the chance of disputes and complications in the future.
Where should you start?
If you are not sure if legal separation or another option is best for your situation, you may want to start with a complete evaluation of your case. An assessment of your goals and objectives can allow you to understand the optimal way forward. Any time you go through a significant life change or make a major family law decision, you will find it helpful to have the guidance of an experienced Rhode Island attorney.