Deciding Between Legal Separation VS Divorce

When a marriage is not working, the best option may be to take a break from each other in order to work on the marriage. However, deciding whether to get a legal separation or work towards divorce can be difficult. They are different processes with different consequences.

If you are unsure which is right for you, seek the opinion of a divorce attorney in Monroe, NC. The attorneys at Perry, Bundy, Plyler & Long, LLP have the experience you need to answer any of the questions you may have.

Legal Separation VS Divorce

Legal separation is a process, either by court order or by agreement, where you and your spouse separate.  This means living apart in separate residences. The agreement or court order can dictate the terms of that separation, such as who gets the house, who has custody of children, who pays what bills, and other issues.

This can take some of the immediate pressure off and allow you and your spouse time to work on the issues causing problems in the marriage. When deciding between legal separation vs divorce, it’s important to consider that if during the separation period, you determine that divorce will be necessary, you have already worked out all the major issues. You will also need to remain separated for one year before being able to file for divorce.  

A Separation Agreement

The decision to get legally separated or get a divorce is a personal one with different legal consequences. A legal separation may be a good idea if you and your spouse can agree on how to divide property, split assets, and handle custody and child support. It allows you to take some time apart from your spouse and think about the future of your marriage.

If you and your spouse do not reconcile and all major issues are resolved, you move on to divorce. If you and your spouse do reconcile and you have previously signed a Separation Agreement, you must take specific actions to rescind the Separation Agreement. In North Carolina, you must be legally separated from your spouse for one year before you can obtain a divorce.

If you have personal or religious beliefs against divorce, a legal separation allows you to stay married while living a separate life from your spouse. Another benefit of legal separations is that you continue to enjoy certain benefits, such as Social Security benefits or certain pensions. Legal separation does not always lead to divorce. However, it can be a great tool to prepare for divorce.

When Is a Legal Separation a Good Option?

During your legal separation, you have the chance to deal with some of the most common causes of conflict in divorce. This includes:

  • child custody
  • alimony
  • debts

If you ultimately choose to get divorced, the process will be much smoother. 

Unlike divorce, a legal separation is reversible, providing you and your spouse both agree to rescind the Separation Agreement. Otherwise, the Separation Agreement most often remains permanent, making it an appropriate choice if you think you may change your mind later. 

If you are struggling with a failing marriage, you may want to consider a legal separation and eventually a divorce. The choice depends on your needs and preferences. If you need the help of a divorce attorney in Monroe NC with your divorce or legal separation, consider working with Perry, Bundy, Plyler, and Long LLP. All of our attorneys are professional and experienced. We have been providing exceptional services since 1980. Contact us today at (704) 741-1584 and set up a confidential no-obligation initial consultation. 

Go to Scholarship

As many of you are probably aware, the Governor has issued a stay at home order beginning today at 5 pm. As an essential business, we will remain open to serve our clients. During this time, many people will face legal challenges and be in need of services regarding issues such as divorce and child custody, estate planning, business law and real estate matters. We are here to help. In order to follow social distancing protocols, we are offering phone and video conferences and innovative solutions to sign your essential documents in a safe manner. We are all going through a difficult time and things are rapidly changing, but Perry, Bundy, Plyler & Long remains here for you.