When spouses begin to have trouble in a relationship, they may not know all of their options. Some couples might even choose to live together in an unhappy marriage instead of getting a divorce.
While divorce represents a major step and one that seems permanent, other choices also exist.
The option of a legal separation
According to the Legal Information Institute at Cornell Law School, a legal separation allows married couples to live apart and remain married. It usually, though not always, requires formal legal action to make the separation have to stand in the courts.
In some functions, the term is synonymous with divorce. This results in the termination of the marital status. This narrower definition results in a limited or a full divorce. A broader definition of a legal separation simply alters the marital relationship through legal action. Though the couple lives apart, in many respects, such as filing taxes, they retain the advantages of marriage.
The benefits of a legal separation
The Ohio State Bar Association clarifies some of the reasons a legal separation might appeal to couples going through challenging marital times. For example, if one spouse depends on the spouse’s medical insurance, a legal separation allows this to happen. Immigration situations also can make it preferable to have a legal separation instead of a divorce. Other financial considerations favor a legal separation as well.
Legal separation still allows for the adjudication of complex issues such as the division of property and child custody concerns. All of these legal obligations from the court action remain enforceable. This action still leaves open the possibility of a later divorce.