An unhappy marriage can often make people part ways. The former couple may think that they no longer love each other and feel insecure in their relationship. To escape such a situation, most people think of turning to divorce or legal separation.
Although most people use these terms interchangeably, there is a difference between the two. Legal separation is an order issued by a court that allows spouses to live separately while still in a marital relationship, without the legal finality that divorce offers. Separation is an alternative to divorce that still labels your marriage as legal and valid.
The key difference between separation and divorce is if you opt for separation, you will remain married. This means there is no legal termination of your marriage.
However, it allows you to live away from your partner and share the custody of your child. The couple will still have to follow the visitation orders as issued by the court. It also means that you cannot remarry when you are separated and can only do so legally divorced.
Still Next to Kin
Spouses will continue to be next of kin and one’s closest living relative legally even after separation. The difference between separation and divorce is that when the couple is separated, partners remain next to kin of each other and can make medical or financial decisions.
This means your spouse still has the power or capacity for decision-making that they consider good for the entire family. However, this changes when you file for a divorce.
Legal separation can help retain healthcare and offer social security benefits such as retirement, pension insurance, unemployment insurance, and more.
Social security is especially important in old age. It helps people avoid poverty and protects middle-class people from the various ups and downs of the market. These benefits cease to exist when the couple files for a divorce. In other words, you will no longer receive social security benefits from your spouse after divorce.
Another difference between separation and divorce is that legal separation can help retain the marital property, but divorce does not. If you and your partner opt for separation, both of you will get the property rights in the eventuality of death.
However, a divorce can do away with the rights. The division of property and assets take place upon the couple’s current predicament and their property relations.
Debts and Other Liabilities
The couple is legally responsible for each other when they are in a legal separation; one couple in such a case may continue to handle the other’s debt or suffer from similar liabilities.
The main difference between separation and divorce comes in the way you handle debts and liabilities. In divorce, the debts and liabilities discussion comes up during the dissolution of the marriage. This helps the couple dissolve all shared responsibilities and allows them to live separate lives, as they will.
A Shot at Reconciliation
As the couples continue to remain married because of separation, there is still a chance for them to get back together. While separation is temporary, divorce certainly isn’t.
Living apart from each other may allow each of the couple to reflect and think about their decision and the outcome of their decision on the family and future.
Reconciliation is an easier process when you are separated. There is also a big chance for couples to set aside their differences and begin on a new note until they cannot live with each other.
Divorce, on the other hand, rings in a certain finality and allows any room for reunification. The couples may need to remarry if they have a change of heart and want to reconcile and get married again with their former partner.
Divorce is a much more permanent decision when compared with legal separation. However, each decision has its advantages and disadvantages. Each couple has to go through the process of legal separation before signing on the dotted lines on the divorce paper.
It needs a lot of evaluation before a couple finally opts for divorce. However, it is also the case of never say never. Even after divorcing each other, you can get back together. You will find plenty of examples when the couple divorced and found love again, with each other.