Sometimes, one is not sure if they want a divorce or not. They may feel that they no longer want to live with their spouse but have conflicting feelings on whether to divorce their spouse or simply walk away. Walking away comes with its own challenges. For example, when you walk away from your marriage, your spouse may later use that as a ground for your divorce. Walking away in legal language is called desertion. It shall be said in your spouse’s petition for divorce that “the respondent has since deserted the matrimonial home…”
If you are in the above dilemma, then you should consider legal separation.
Legal separation is almost like divorce. It is just that under legal separation, your marriage is not dissolved. You are however allowed by the court not to perform your marital duties, and you live separate from your spouse. But then like divorce, you must negotiate custody of the children, alimony (spousal maintenance and support), visitation and child support, and sometimes, division of matrimonial property.
But why should you choose legal separation?
If it is too early for you to divorce, then legal separation is the next best option. In some countries, you may not divorce until after a certain period in marriage. If your marriage is not working soon after it has been solemnised, you may consider legal separation.
Legal separation allows a couple more time to re-evaluate their circumstances and to also consider reconciliation.
Do you belong to a religion which prohibits divorce? Or, do your moral inclinations discourage divorce? If you are against divorce because of religious or moral inclinations, then legal separation is a good consideration to make.
Do you have a job where your spouse is legible for benefits such as healthcare? If you want your spouse to enjoy these benefits, then you should consider separation. However, it is important to read the terms and conditions under which those benefits accrue to spouses. Sometimes, legally separated spouses are excluded from being beneficiaries.
Sometimes, children may be affected by their parents’ divorce. Their parents’ legal separation may help them to transition and accept their parents’ living apart.
Also, consider talking to a tax consultant for advice on whether your tax liability is affected by your legal separation.
Your attorney’s advice is also important as you make the choice between a legal separation and a divorce. If you are thinking about either, please call us today for advice.
BY SAMALI BITALA