The Pros and Cons of Legal Separation after Domestic Violence
Over the years, you have weathered many domestic violence cases. While you have tried to keep things together after each domestic violence, there may come a point where you decide it is no longer worth it. The marriage is over, or rather you believe it is.
You may have a few options when it comes to handling what comes next. Some states may require a legal separation before continuing forward with a divorce. In other states, legal separation may be a choice. What are the benefits of a legal separation? Are there drawbacks? Discover more about legal separation before deciding to move forward.
Why Choose Legal Separation?
A legal separation acknowledges that you and your spouse are no longer living together. In states that require this step before filing for divorce, a couple must often be separated for a specific timeframe. Absent a state requirement, why would you choose to separate versus divorce? Some of the most common reasons include:
- Religious beliefs that divorce is a sin
- Health conditions of a spouse and retention of insurance
- A desire to live separately but not divorce
What Are Some of the Common Considerations?
Legally separating from your spouse entails more than moving out. When you separate without going through legal channels, you may end up getting the short end of the stick in the future. A legal separation allows you and your spouse to conduct some aspects of a divorce without ending the marriage. You and your spouse should agree to how you want to divide property and debt, child custody and visitation and any provisional support payments. Memorializing these agreements with the court in a legal separation document gives you something to take legal action on should your spouse not uphold their end of the compromise.
When Is Legal Separation Not Ideal?
While legal separation after domestic violence cases sounds more desirable than a divorce, there are some situations where you may want to bypass it. For starters, even if you have notified the court that you are legally separated, the law will still consider you married. This means that if your spouse racks up a lot of debt and fails to pay them, creditors may come after you for repayment. Anything that would naturally be the spouse’s right will remain, such as becoming the beneficiary of insurance proceeds, a will, etc.
If you are confident that you want to move through life without your spouse, then a divorce is the only way to do that. A family lawyer is a notable ally in the process of legal separation and/or divorce. Contact someone in your city to get the guidance your situation warrants.