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Divorce vs. Legal Separation

By John Anthony Ward on November 11, 2018


Signing a contractWhen a marriage cannot be fixed or seems like it is broken, it’s important for couples to consider legal remedies for these problems. That means separation or divorce. Many people use these terms interchangeably, but the two situations are different in important ways. Experienced Kenosha, WI separation and divorce attorney John Anthony Ward can help guide you through the benefits of each option, and discuss why one may be better for you.

Below we will go over the basic differences between separation and divorce. We can go over these matters with you in greater detail during a legal consultation at our office.

About Separation

A separation means that a couple is still married but their marriage is not nullified or dissolved. The separation does allow the couple to now acquire separate assets and debts, and make arrangements for visitation and custody of any children. In this case, a marriage is broken, but not irretrievably broken.

About Divorce

A divorce means that the marriage is legally dissolved and nullified by the court. Following a divorce, the same issues regarding property division, child visitation, chid support, and so forth can be discussed. A judge in a divorce rules that a marriage is irretrievably broken.

The distinction seems subtle, but it has major repercussions following the ruling.

When Is Separation a Better Option?

During a separation, there are many financial benefits to the separated couple. The spouses may live separately in the same home, which means savings on rent or living expenses. Since the couple is still married, they can also share in health benefits and tax benefits afforded to married couples.

If there is a chance of reconciliation, it may also be a good option for couples to separate instead of getting divorced.

When Is Divorce a Better Option?

While the situation described in a separation sounds like it may be ideal, it does not apply to all marriages or spouses. There are some cases in which reconciliation is not possible and it is simply a better psychological and emotional option to get a divorce. This is particularly true in cases of abuse, irreconcilable differences, and endangerment of children.

When Can a Person Re-Marry?

Spouses can only remarry following a divorce. Since separated couples are still married but simply separated, they are not permitted by law to marry another person. Separated couples would need to file for divorce in order for this to happen.

What If Spouses Cannot Agree on Separation or Divorce?

Sometimes a married couple has numerous differenced and want to address these marital differences legally. One spouse may want to file for legal separation, while another spouse may want to file for divorce. When the spouses cannot agree, they can present their cases to a judge, who will then make a decision about what would be best for both parties given their circumstances.

How a Family Law Attorney Can Help

Addressing legal issues related to marriage can be a fraught process. Emotions can run high, and they can take their toll on you personally. By working with an experienced family law attorney, you can get the clear-headed and objective guidance you need.

When major disputes arise between spouses, an experienced family law attorney can help present your side in a fair manner, keeping the proceedings as professional and cordial as possible given the situation. Your attorney can also go over the pros and cons of separation/divorce in more detail, giving you greater insight into your legal options.

Learn More About Family Law

For more information about separations, divorce, and other legal matters related to marriage, be sure to contact an experienced family law attorney. Our law firm is here to help. Attorney John Anthony Ward can be reached by phone at (262) 671-8692.

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