The decision between legal separation vs. divorce can be a challenging one. Each option is a significant change in your marital status and could require a lengthy legal process. To make an informed choice, it is paramount that you understand the emotional and legal repercussions of both. A Wilmington Divorce Attorney can help ease your decision-making process.
Why Do You Need a Divorce Attorney?
Both legal separations and divorces pose legal consequences to the parties involved. Along with property and debt division, couples may have to deal with issues such as:
- Custody battles,
- Child support,
- Visitation rights,
- And alimony, where applicable.
As such, legal separation or divorce may call for legal proceedings that could take as long as 8 to 10 months. This, plus the fact that the laws pertaining to such cases are different across states, could make the process difficult to follow through without legal representation.
You can hire the assistance of a Wilmington divorce lawyer who should be able to work with you to decide between legal separation vs. divorce and follow through with the ensuing legal process.
Differences Between Legal Separation and Divorce
The main distinction between a divorce and a legal separation is that in the latter, the couples are still married but live apart while in the former, the marriage is dissolved. Other fundamental differences include:
- Marital status: A legal separation means that you are still legally married, although you are not living with your spouse. As such, you retain your marital status and cannot remarry. This is not the case with a divorce.
- Remarriage vs. reconciliation: In the event, you and your spouse solve your marital problems after legal separation, you can easily reconcile. For divorced couples, however, a legal reunification has to involve remarriage.
- Health care and other benefits: Following a legal separation, you can retain your healthcare and social security benefits. On the other hand, these benefits are terminated in the event of a divorce.
- Next of kin: A legally separated couple is still considered next of kin to each other and can make financial or medical decisions on behalf of their partner. These decision-making rights are revoked after a divorce. They may also be revoked in a separation agreement.
- Property rights: After a legal separation, you retain your legal rights to property benefits upon your spouse's death. These rights cease to exist after a divorce.
- Debts and liability division: Legally separated spouses still share debt and liability, unlike divorces who divide theirs during the dissolution process.
Legal Assistance for Your Legal Separation Vs. Divorce
Separation procedures of any nature can be lengthy and taxying on both parties. Nonetheless, with expert legal help, you should be able to understand the process, benefits, and repercussions of divorce and legal separation before you decide on either.
If you are contemplating legal separation vs. divorce, you should consult a qualified Wilmington Divorce Attorney. Feel free to call the Speaks Law Firm office and schedule an appointment at your convenience.
Speaks Law Firm, PC Family Law Division
300 N. 3rd St. Suite 310
Wilmington, NC 28401