when would you separate over divorce

Legal Separation When Divorce Isn’t An Option

Goldberg Jones Divorce, Divorce Process, Legal Separation Leave a Comment

Despite the “’til death do us part” portion of most wedding vows, not all unions stand the test of time. It’s not always the happily ever after fairy tale like in the movies. Marriages end every day and divorce has become commonplace for people young and old. But divorce isn’t an option for everybody, so what do you do then?

There are a variety of reasons why divorce isn’t an option for some people. Religion often forms a barrier to ending a marriage. Other couples remain together for the sake of children—for financial support or because you don’t want to set that example for the kids. Health issues can compel couples to stay married. Every situation plays out in a different fashion and the reasons are as different as the people involved.

Whatever the underlying cause, this complicates your situation. You may find yourself stuck in an unhappy marriage, or worse, an unsafe one. But when you remove divorce from your list of potential options, what choices do you have left?

Related Reading: What Jobs Have the Highest Divorce Rates?

Can You Fix Your Marriage?

When divorce isn’t an option, it puts you in a difficult spot. But you do have a variety of ways to approach the situation. Many people simply bite their lip and try to power through. That’s not a particularly healthy approach. Waiting and hoping it gets better isn’t much of a strategy. It doesn’t offer much in the way hope. Odds are, it’ll just get worse until something breaks down the road.

Many couples try to fix their marriages, and there are different ways to approach this. Communicating more openly and honestly often helps. Ask your spouse questions, listen to the answers. Share your own thoughts and feelings. Effective dialogue goes a long way.

Counseling or seeing a therapist is an option many people turn to. Opening lines of communication on your own may prove difficult. A professional, and an outsider, may help. Someone experienced and skilled in this area can point out problems you may not see and, better yet, offer potential solutions. Admitting you need help isn’t always easy, but it’s often necessary and can pay dividends.

Related Reading: What Can You Do if Your Spouse Doesn’t Want to Divorce?

Is Legal Separation the Answer When Divorce Isn’t an Option?

If divorce isn’t an option, legal separation may provide an answer.

In many cases, legal separation offers many of the same benefits of divorce. A couple splits up, lives separately, and a court order spells out the details. Along the way, you divide property, create a parenting plan, and sometimes even decide on child support or spousal support. While the practical results often resemble divorce, it’s not final and you remain married.

While not a fit in every situation, in certain circumstances, legal separation may be a good choice. Some people use it as a stepping stone to divorce, while for others, it’s a more permanent state.

In cases where spouses want to work on their differences, and the ultimate goal is to save the marriage, this strategy can give people space. Not living together may offer people room to work on issues they couldn’t while in close proximity.

For families with kids, legal separation may soften the blow. It’s often less stressful than divorce and doesn’t carry the same stigma of coming from a broken home. In some cases, it’s simply easier to accept. It can be difficult for kids, especially younger children, to truly understand what’s happening.

Related Reading: 8 Ways to Rebuild Finances After Divorce

Legal Separation and Finances

Legal separation can also have a beneficial financial impact in many areas. For some couples, filing joint taxes saves money. Though there are roadblocks to filing together in this situation, it is possible in certain circumstances. Make sure to talk to a professional first.

Access to health care motivates many couples to remain married. Most employer-supported insurance plans don’t cover former spouses, and in cases of chronic illness, this is often huge. Many plans view divorce and legal separation in the same light, but some do provide ongoing coverage. Again, it’s vital to closely examine your policy.

The length of a marriage often impacts retirement. Pensions, military benefits, and other retirement allowances don’t take effect until a certain time. For example, after ten years of marriage, Social Security kicks in and you can collect based on your spouse’s work history. Many couples nearing this mile marker remain married in order to shore up their financial future.

The choice of whether or not to end a marriage is a complex one. But divorce isn’t an option for some people. This complicates your case, but fortunate, y there are ways to proceed depending on your situation.

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