Often the problems that a couple faces, the level of discord between the two people and individual beliefs and attitudes tend to differ from person to person. Under the law, there exist genuine remedies and provisions for all types or malfunctioning, cohabiting relationships. What is a good enough solution for one couple may not be acceptable to the other. A couple can often impart a mutually acceptable and healthy turn to its lousy married life, in its own unique way, thereby ensuring peace and harmony with ample social and financial security, for all the concerned parties.
Legal Separation vs. Divorce
A divorce is a legal dissolution of a marriage. After a divorce, both the spouses are free to remarry, if they wish to do so. A legal separation is similar to a divorce accept the difference that it does not terminate a marriage. After a legal separation, the two spouses are free to live separate and apart, but they can not remarry. Legally speaking, both the spouses continue to remain married but without cohabitation. During a legal separation, like a divorce, both the spouses approach a court to settle the important issues like child custody, child support, visitation plan, division of assets and debts and spousal support. The two spouses are required to sign a legal document called the Separation Agreement, which delineates, divides and allocates the respective rights and responsibilities of both the parties and is legally binding. Though legal separation may superficially seem similar to a divorce, yet, it has certain advantages over a divorce. That is why some people opt for separation instead of divorce.
Advantages of Legal Separation
1) Allows Time to Think
People often tend to lose a realistic perspective of their main problems and concerns, pressed by the immediate circumstances. Legal separation, temporarily draws apart the two warring spouses, thus facilitating enough time and space to both of them, to think about their future life. Distanced from an environment of conflict and discord, both the spouses can decide in leisure, whether their differences are reconcilable or should they opt for a full fledged divorce.
2) Social Acceptance
Despite the radical changes in the contemporary society, divorce still continues to be a taboo in certain sections of the society. Children and individuals from a divorced household are often stigmatized by the society to a mild extent. People unwilling to face such an awkward social scenario can opt for separation instead of a divorce.
3) Religious Beliefs
A divorce may prove to be contrary to the religious beliefs and ethical aspirations of some people. Almost all the major off shots of the established Judie- Christian tradition tend to look down upon divorce. Hence a separation allows a devout individual to bypass a divorce, while enjoying all the benefits of a divorce.
4) Provides Legal Protection
Legal separation brings all the issues related to a separation, within a legal framework. The provisions decreed by a court in a separation agreement are legally binding on both the spouses. If a spouse feels that his/her partner is not abiding by any of the clauses agreed to in the separation agreement, he/she can move to the court to get those provisions legally enforced on the erring spouse.
5) Psychological Advantage
In co-dependant marital relationships, either or both the spouses are often addicted to each other, due to high levels of dependency. Though being consciously aware that there marriage has no future, still they prefer to remain emotionally tied to each other by a thin though strong chord of emotional dependence. Separation allows such spouses to split apart, while offering all the semblance of a normal marriage. Eventually both the spouses can overcome their feelings of dependency and can file for a divorce.
6) Protects Your Financial Interests
Legal separation safeguards the financial interests and rights of both the spouses and their children. If any of the spouses is hesitant in divulging the relevant financial information related to him/her, the aggrieved spouse can approach the court to force the erring partner to reveal all the requisite details.
7) Good for Children
In a separation the intensity of conflict between the two spouses tends to be low or moderate, which ensures a healthy co-parenting environment for their children.