Separation vs. Divorce: What is the Difference?
Separation is different from divorce in many ways, primarily in that separation does not end the marriage. There are, however, many similarities between the two. I am experienced in family law and can provide you with an overview of separation vs. divorce during a consultation at my East Brunswick, NJ, office. Either option you choose will have a major impact on your life, so it is important to have all the necessary information to make the best choice for you and your spouse.
What is Legal Separation?
Legal separation is similar to divorce in many ways. Similar to divorce, separation legally estranges you and your spouse both physically and financially. Your marital assets, properties, and debts are all divided. If children are involved, child custody matters and child support are also decided upon. The key difference between legal separation and divorce, however, is that legal separation does not terminate your marriage.
When separated, you are still legally married to your spouse. Your lives are separate, but you cannot remarry, and you must state that you are married on all tax documents and other forms. Unlike divorce, however, legal separation is reversible. Should you and your spouse later decide to reconcile, the courts can reverse your separation and you can move forward with your marriage as you wish.
Because legal separation does not dissolve the marriage, it is a popular choice among those with strong religious convictions against divorce. In addition, separated spouses are still entitled to benefits such as insurance, social security, or pension payments.
How is Divorce Different?
For some couples, legal separation is a stepping stone to divorce. With a divorce, you go through a similar process of dividing your assets and debts, and determining custody and child support. Unlike legal separation, however, a divorce is final. You are legally considered single, and you are free to remarry. As you are no longer married, you surrender all spousal rights and benefits you previously had, unless otherwise agreed upon in the divorce.
The assistance of an attorney can often make the process easier on you and your spouse while ensuring your final separation or divorce agreement is fair and equitable.
Why You Should Work with an Attorney
Whether you are considering legal separation or divorce, it is vital that you work with an experienced attorney. Both processes are complex, and attorneys like Frank E. Tournour can help you navigate the legal proceedings. An attorney is essential in cases involving particularly complex financial or custody matters. In addition to assisting with the negotiation of your division of assets and other legal matters, our attorneys can also handle filing all necessary paperwork. The assistance of an attorney can often make the process easier on you and your spouse while ensuring your final separation or divorce agreement is fair and equitable.
Contact Us Today for a Consultation
If you are unsure whether a legal separation or a divorce is right for you and your spouse, call us at (732) 418-9772 or contact our law office online to schedule a consultation. Our attorneys can explain the similarities and differences to you in detail. He will also discuss your particular situation, asking questions as needed so he can help you determine which option is most appropriate for you and your spouse.