Legal separation vs Divorce -Understanding The Differences

The split of a couple could be a tense and emotionally draining phase. The break is usually carried out by way of a divorce or by a legal separation. The latter is an official separation by the court, but the couple remains legally married. At the same time, divorce is a final step wherein the couple ends their marital status honestly. Depending on the decision of the couple and the circumstance, the couple can choose either of the two.

Family law attorneys in Monroe, NC, could help select from the two by providing all the pros and cons of each option. The differences between Legal Separation and Divorce are as follows:

Marital status:

Divorce terms the prior marriage as void, and after the divorce is finalized, both the partners can marry other individuals. Legal separation does not give the right to remarry as the marital status is valid. The matter of child custody and visitation, in either case, is decided by the court. In remarriage, divorced parties would have to marry to show unification while the legally separated couple can reconcile.

Healthcare & other shared benefits:

The benefits like healthcare, insurance policies, social security, pension, etc., can be shared between the spouses in case of a legal separation. Divorce leaves both parties barren of all these benefits.

Discharging of liabilities:

In a legal separation, since the couple is still married, each of them is liable to discharge the debts and liabilities undertaken by them in the course of their marriage. In a divorce, however, the liabilities are dissolved between the ex-spouses or partners.

Legal heir or Inheritance:

In the event of the death of a spouse, the asset would be transferred to the person next in line of kin or the surviving spouse in legal separation. They enjoy all the asset and property rights. On the other hand, divorce eliminates all such rights.

Making decisions for each other:

In a legal separation, the title of ‘spouse’ is kept intact, and hence they are the immediate next of kin, making them eligible to call on the decision bearing importance on their spouse. The decision can be financial or medical. Divorce, on the other hand, eliminates all the decision-making rights after it is finalized. The ex-spouse need not make any decision for their prior spouse. 

If the case of separation or divorce is in question, always check all the pros and cons, the differences and similarities between each other, and then get professional legal advice from a lawyer for the right move. 

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