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Why Would You Get a Legal Separation Instead of a Divorce?

If you or a loved one is involved in a bitter, hostile, or contentious family dispute or confrontation, Call & Gentry Law Group is here to help. Hiring a reputable and experienced Jefferson City Divorce Attorney to assist you with your family law matter is the first step to putting this turbulent time behind you. Divorce is a nasty word that pierces the ear and conjures up images of volatile conversations, yelling, screaming, and shouting, and an endgame where no one is really “happy” with the outcome. Family law matters like divorce proceedings, trial separations, and child custody matters are filled with emotion. Trying to “go it alone” is a recipe for disaster. Our lawyers have the legal knowledge, courtroom experience, and successful trial record to assist you through the litigation or separation process.

An Alternative Path to Divorce – Legal Separation

Fortunately, there are multiple options for couples whose marriages have run their course. For couples who dislike the stigma associated with divorce or want to keep their options open for salvaging their marriage, a legal separation may be a viable solution. Legal separation and divorce share some similarities, most notably, marital conflict. But the two legal avenues are actually very different. A legal separation leaves you and your partner married but mandates certain parameters regarding the rights, duties, and operations of the parties. There are several reasons why a couple may prefer to legally separate as opposed to initiating divorce proceedings, including reasons related to:

  • Health Care/Benefits: Oftentimes, married couples, and their children acquire health insurance or other incendiary benefits through their spouse’s employer. Another benefit to staying technically married but legally separating could be related to social security benefits that would otherwise terminate upon the completion of formal divorce proceedings.
  • Debts/Liabilities: Married couples almost always hold property concurrently (jointly), a concept known as tenancy by the entirety. It may be desirable for one member of the married couple to remain married but legally separate in order to continue to hold assets in both party’s names. For example, if the husband caused a serious motor vehicle collision and is found liable for damages while married to his wife, the injured victim can only recover assets solely owned by the husband. Alternatively, if the husband obtains a divorce and thereafter alone owns property such as a house or automobile(s), the injured party can recover those assets to compensate them for their damages. Under these circumstances, it may be better financially for the husband to “give up” more under the umbrella of legal separation because a divorce would effectively expose his remaining assets to recovery by the injured party.
  • Property Rights: Older couples may prefer to legally separate as opposed to obtaining a divorce in order to maintain their established property benefits upon the death of the other. Divorce often requires rewriting or wills, trusts, and estate planning documents while legal separation permits the couple to maintain the inheritance plan previously established.
  • Reconciliation: A divorce is permanent. A legally separated couple can become unseparated. Legal separation leaves open the door for a married couple to reconcile their differences, mend broken bridges from a distance, and perhaps one day reunite.

Divorce proceedings, legal separations, and child custody disputes are not one-size-fits-all operations. If you, a loved one, or a friend are seeking guidance on how best to resolve your family law issue, consult one of the experienced attorneys at Call & Gentry Law Group to educate you on the advantages and disadvantages of pursuing a legal separation, divorce, or other family law related issue currently affecting your well-being. The road is not an easy one, but with the right help, a smooth transition is achievable. Contact our office today for a consultation.

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