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Advantages & Disadvantages Of Legal Separation

People don’t think about divorce immediately after getting into arguments during their marriage. Some couples consider taking time away from each other to resolve their issues.

That is why legal separation has come into being in many states of the US. You may be wondering about the advantages and disadvantages of legal separation.

The good news is you don’t have to search for it any further. Here is everything you need to familiarize yourself with the advantages and disadvantages of legal separation.

Is There Legal Separation In Florida?

An infographic on whether courts in Florida recognize legal separation

Florida courts don’t recognize legal separation. This means it is not a valid option for couples who want to work on their marriage by staying apart. However, that does not mean there are no other options in Florida.

A legally binding separation agreement can still be prepared following specific guidelines. It may not be the same as legal separation, but it is the closest thing to it in Florida.

You can divide your assets, debts, and other things like you do in divorce when signing an informal separation agreement. The most common type of alternative is a prenuptial agreement in Florida.

Advantages Of Legal Separation In Other States

An infographic on the advantages of legal separation

Most states of the US do allow couples to file for legal separation. The main purpose of such allowance is to decrease the divorce rate in those states.

So let’s look at the legal separation benefits that encourage many couples to choose this route instead of divorce:

1.   Provides You Some Time Apart From Your Spouse

One of the top advantages of legal separation is that it offers couples time away from each other. You may live in different houses if there are no arguments about marital home ownership.

Some couples also live in the same home, but separate its portions to enjoy privacy without increasing their expenses of finding a new house. During the time apart, one can think about the wrongs of their marriage.

You may try to work on your personality changes that led to the other spouse demanding separation. Time apart can also prevent couples from getting into arguments over petty things.

2.   You Can Test Living Separately Without Divorce

There are many pros and cons of legal separation. An important pro is that people can try living separately without divorce. You may want to understand how challenging it would be to live independently.

It can also allow you to see the impact separation would have on your kids. This can help you make a better decision about pursuing a divorce or not.

Some couples who live separately during legal separation realize how much they love and miss their spouse. This encourages them to make active efforts to fix their marriage and get back together with their spouse.

3.   You Are Not Liable For Your Spouse’s Debts 

Many aspects of legal separation resemble divorce, but the key difference is that your marital status doesn’t change during it. The separation requires couples to divide their assets such as:

  • Properties
  • Marital vehicles
  • Marital debts

However, a benefit of the separation is that any new debt of your spouse will not come under the marital category despite you being married. This means your partner will be solely responsible for paying that debt.

You’ll not have to worry about spending your personal finances on clearing your spouse’s debts.

Of course, you’ll still have to pay older marital debts that were acquired when you were together with your partner.

4.   You Can Sort Out Matters With Your Spouse Before Filing For Divorce 

One of the best advantages of legal separation is that it is not a final act. You and your spouse can reverse the situation by nullifying the agreement.

This means couples who still want to stay married and be together after some time of separation can do that. However, that is not the case with a divorce.

Once a divorce is final, all your assets and debts will be separate. Any insurance or other schemic benefits that you were enjoying under spousal categories will also be gone.

People who want to still receive those benefits will have to marry again. Legal separation does not remove any spousal benefits, so your way of life won’t change much.

You and your spouse may also resolve matters to start living together again without any legal consequences.

5.   You Can Retain Insurance Benefits

Health insurance coverage may be expensive, but couples can enjoy discounts on it. You may also not have to buy separate insurance due to the spousal add-on in your partner’s policy.

Legal separation will allow you to retain insurance benefits because you will still be married on paper. This means the company cannot remove your add-on from the policy.

There will also be no extra charges to maintain the policy when couples are filing for legal separation.

Disadvantages Of Legal Separation

An infographic on the disadvantages of legal separation

Let’s look at the top disadvantages of legal separation:

1.   You Can’t Legally Remarry

One of the primary disadvantages of legal separation is that you can’t remarry. You may have been separated for years and now dating someone else.

If so, your spouse may file an adultery case against you. Even if they allow you to date, the courts of your state would still see it as cheating. So any complaint against you by your spouse or another person would cause you to suffer consequences.

You also can’t remarry during legal separation because only one marriage is allowed in a state at one time. Since the separation doesn’t change your marital status, you can’t marry another person.

Remember if you do marry someone during separation, you will be engaging in bigamy.

2.   Opting For Legal Separation Before Divorce May Increase Costs

There are different disadvantages of legal separation such as an increase in costs. You will have to print different forms and file them in court to pursue legal separation.

Submitting the forms will cost you some money. You may even hire a family lawyer or mediator to help you and your spouse develop a reasonable separation agreement.

Later when you decide to divorce after some time of separation, you’ll have to file new forms. Hiring a lawyer may also be necessary for some types of divorce.

This means you’ll be spending money both on legal separation and divorce, which can affect your overall costs.

3.   The Process Can Be Complicated

Many people believe that legal separation is an easy process, but that is not necessarily true. One of the disadvantages of legal separation is that it may be complex.

That is because you still have to divide your assets such as marital properties and debts. You and your spouse will also have to arrange a child custody agreement.

For equal time-sharing, spouses will have to live in the same house. A partner who leaves the marital residence during separation is also at a disadvantage for custody in courts.

That is because judges see that action as abandonment of family. This is why it is important to understand all the complications of legal separation.

4.   Cost Of Living May Increase

The cost of living may increase when you pursue legal separation. That is because you’ll not be receiving financial support from your spouse. You’ll have to get a job and earn yourself to pay for your expenses.

You must also contribute to child expenses such as their school and insurance fees. If you move out of the marital home, you may also have to look for a new place to stay.

Leasing a new home can be difficult and financially draining. So it is important that you can support yourself easily during separation.

5.   Your Marital Status Will Still Remain Married

When talking about the disadvantages of legal separation, it is important to mention that your marital status will not change. You cannot represent yourself as single when meeting new people.

Since you will be still married, your spouse will be your next of kin in different cases. For example, they will be allowed to make medical decisions for you if you’re incapacitated after an accident.

If you’re caught drunk driving, your partner may have to bail you out. This means that you cannot completely exclude your spouse from your matters after separation.

Is It Better To File For Divorce Directly In Florida?

Filing for divorce may or may not be better for you in Florida. This will mainly depend on whether your marriage is reparable and if you still want to continue the relationship with your spouse.

If you believe separation will not change your decision to end the marriage, it is better to opt for a direct divorce.


Why Do People Separate But Not Divorce?

People may separate but not divorce to retain insurance benefits. They may also take action to repair their marriage by taking time apart.

Can Family Lawyers Help With Separation Before Divorce?

Family lawyers can help you with the separation process in your state. They can also file your filled forms to reduce your burden.

What Happens If You Stay Married But Separated?

If you stay married but separated, your finances will be different from your spouse’s. You’ll also have to earn to support yourself and may have to change homes.

Final Thoughts

These are the main advantages and disadvantages of legal separation. Contact us today to meet our family lawyers and start your divorce or legal separation process right away.

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