Legal Separation: The Last Hope to Save Your Marriage


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More and more couples in America are opting for legal separation over divorce. While the reasons could be purely practical and financial, don't you think there are some raw emotions involved at the core as well? A last hope somewhere in the heart, of being once again in a fully functional and complete family with a loving spouse and kids? Have you felt the same way? Have you opted for legal separation for the financial advantages it offers, but still garner a hope somewhere that both of you will reunite? This post unravels these questions and doubts for you and helps you in understanding what legal separation means to you and what steps you should take legally and personally to have a balanced life post a not- so- successful marriage.

Residency Requirements v/s Reaching Out

Many young couples state that the state's residency requirements are posing a hurdle for filing for divorce. However, sometimes when you scratch the surface, you may see that one or both of the spouses are actually hoping that either will reach out to resolve the issues that have arose between them. There have been cases where legal separation has functioned like a pre-cursor to divorce, but there have also been cases where couples have decided to spend time apart to see if they can solve the problems in their marriage and save the relationship.

Why not simply stay apart then, instead of legal separation? This must be the question arising in your mind. Legal separation functions in the same way as divorce in many aspects. Child support and visitation rights are determined in black and white and so are the wealth and property jointly owned.

What this does is, it deters the daily fights and bickering that can crop up in a couple regarding these pertinent but sensitive issues. With these issues out of the line, the separated individuals actually can think more clearly regarding their feelings and emotions for each other. Time is a great friend and guide. Both the partners can actually ponder over whether the problems that caused the bitterness and separation can be dealt with and if they still love each other and want to live with each other. If one of the partners feel that way and decide to personally incorporate some changes to salvage the marriage, he or she can reach out to the other, convince their spouse and revoke the separation legally.

Child Support v/s Childhood with Both Parents

Many couples opt for legal separation to keep the situation a little less ugly for the child and provide the child with whatever shreds of the old life and normality that he/she was used to. Couples opt to stay in the same vicinity and often choose to take the kid together to places they frequented while they were still a couple. In the process they often recollect and remember all the moments that they had spent earlier. And, in many cases this actually functions as a stimulus for couples to realize the beautiful relationship they once had and think of a reconciliation.

While child support terms fixed in legal separation is obviously necessary to take care of the tuition fees and various other requirements of the child, it may not always be enough to provide the child with just a financial cushion. The child also needs an affectionate, conducive environment to have a fulfilling childhood and reach his/her full potential.

This is where legal separation comes in. If both the partners really desire to nurture the child and bring them up together, they might choose to reconcile after spending some time legally separated. Legal separation gives you this last opportunity, possibility of once again being a family.

Distance v/s Desire

In the race of life, practical, feasible, wise often takes over possible, heartfelt and sentimental. What would you heed, your head or heart? Whose calls would you answer reason or emotion? This has become the scenario with most couples who are forced to live in different cities and states due to career choices and professional committments. Distance is playing culprit in breaking many relationships down. And tax benefits in these times of economic crisis is preventing the couples from taking a divorce atleast temporarily. But, what needs to be asked is, are the differences, distances sortable? Can they be overcome? Legal separation is that liberty, that time frame to give your relationship a chance, it is that opportunity for you to really ask yourself if you want to let go of the relationship due to the distance or reconcile the differences? Many times, either of the partners may really desire the marriage to work out, consider moving to the city where the other partner resides and give the marriage a new lease of life.

Legal Ramifications

Many may assume that legal separation is not as complex as a divorce and the two partners can themselves file for it and execute the whole process. However, legal separation can become very messy and much more complex than a divorce without the assistance of a proper attorney or law firm. This is especially so, when you are opting for legal separation as a trial mechanism to see if there is any life left in your marriage. Determining the terms of the separation and various other legalities and formalities are most likely to drain out any last shred of love left in the relationship and make the estranged couple even more bitter and quarrelsome towards each other. Having a well-balanced and experienced divorce and family law attorney for your legal separation is the solution to this problem.

To Conclude

Legal Separation terms clearly state that you cannot remarry. In most cases this means that you are choosing a life of isolation and singlehood. Some time spent in this way, without one another but without being married to someone else either, can actually make the partners miss each other. The companionship, the friend, the pillar of support, all the roles a spouse plays goes missing. Sometimes that vacuum is enough for two people to miss each other and get back with one another. So, if there is trouble brewing in your marriage and you are considering moving out of it, give it another thought. If push comes to shove, opt for legal separation rather than divorce. Maybe you will be able to save your marriage.