When a marriage begins to crumble, the couple has to make a choice about how to proceed regarding their future. The divorce or separation process can be complicated for any couple, but it becomes even more difficult when there are children involved.
Whether you and your partner are struggling with issues that seem insurmountable or you’ve just realized that continuing this marriage will only hurt you both further down the road, there comes a time in every relationship where couples have to make some difficult decisions about their future together. Is staying together worth all of the hardships that come with staying married? Or should you end things now while things are still relatively good? Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of separation vs divorce so you can decide which is right for your specific situation.
Divorce or Separation?
The first thing you have to decide is if divorce or separation is the best option for your marriage. Separation is one of the most common precursors to divorce. Most couples who separate do not intend to ever go back to being married. They see separation as a way to re-evaluate the relationship and decide if it is worth going through a divorce or if they can salvage their marriage. You may not be able to keep your finances separate during a separation. You will have to decide who will pay for what, who will keep what insurance, and who will manage what bills. You can also negotiate how long the separation will last.
Things to Consider Before Deciding on Divorce or Separation
There are several things that couples in this situation should be thinking about before they make the decision to either divorce or separate.
– Your relationship with your children: This is a major concern for most people considering divorce or separation. If you and your partner decide to stay together but live apart, you will have to decide how to handle custody and visitation. Divorce, on the other hand, can cause major rifts between parents and children.
– The financial situation: This is perhaps the most important factor when deciding whether to divorce or separate. You will need to consider a number of issues, including:
– Your health: If you have health issues, you will have to consider how a divorce or separation will impact you.
– Your feelings for your partner: While this is not an indication of whether or not you should stay together, it will help you decide which option is better for you.
– Your religious or cultural beliefs: Religious and cultural beliefs often influence a person’s decision to stay together or divorce.
– Your goals for the future: You will also want to consider what you want in the future. Will you want to remain in the same vicinity? Do you want to remain in the same social circle? Do you want to have the same lifestyle?
The Pros of Separation
There are a number of potential benefits to choosing separation over divorce.
– It is less expensive than divorce: Filing for divorce can be costly, both financially and emotionally. Separation is usually much less expensive.
– You can keep your finances separate: If you are struggling with financial issues in your marriage, a separation can help you avoid having to deal with the problems.
– You can see if you can make it without being married: Some couples choose to separate because they want to know if they can make it on their own before ending the marriage. This may be useful if you are unsure.
– You can re-evaluate the relationship: If you choose to separate, you have time to re-evaluate your feelings for your partner. This is useful if you’re not sure you want to end the marriage.
– You can avoid courtroom drama: Ending a marriage through divorce can often be a long and dramatic process. You may be required to attend court hearings and deal with lawyers. A separation, on the other hand, can be much quicker and simpler.
– You can maintain connections with your partner and family: During a separation, you can still keep your connections with your partner and your families.
– You can maintain connections with your children: During a separation, you can still keep your connections with your children.
– You can maintain the same lifestyle: During a separation, you can keep your same lifestyle.
– You can protect your assets: During a separation, you can protect your assets.
The Pros of Divorce
There are also some potential benefits to choosing divorce over separation.
– You will have an official ending to your marriage: If you divorce, your marriage will be legally over. This can help you move on with your life.
– You can protect your children: If you divorce, you can use the legal system to protect your children from further harm.
– You can move on with your life: If you divorce, you can quickly move on with your life. You can focus on your career, start dating, and do whatever you want to do.
– You can keep your finances separate: If you divorce, you can keep your finances separate.
– You can protect your assets: If you divorce, you can use the legal system to protect your assets.
Key Differences Between Divorce and Legal Separation
There are a few differences between divorce and legal separation. .
– The end date: When you are legally separated, you and your partner have to decide how long the separation will last. In a divorce, the end date is defined by the court.
– Legal protection: When you are legally separated, you and your partner can still choose to have the same legal protections as if you were married. In a divorce, you have to separate all of your finances.
– Legal rights: When you are legally separated, you and your partner have the same legal rights as if you were married. In a divorce, you lose some of the legal rights that you had while you were married.
– Taxes: When you are legally separated, you and your partner can still file joint taxes. In a divorce, you and your partner have to file separately.
The Cons of Legal Separation
Legal separation is not as final as a divorce. When you are legally separated, you are still legally married. This means you and your partner will still have the same legal rights and obligations as if you were still married.
This type of situation can be very tricky and messy, especially when it comes to things like child custody. You and your partner could end up in a long, drawn out custody battle that could potentially hurt your child in the process. Legal separation can also have an impact on your finances. This can be especially problematic if you have children because you may have to pay child support or spousal support.
The Cons of Divorce
There are a few negatives to divorce as well.
– You have to go through a legal process: The legal process can be long and drawn out, especially if you and your partner can’t agree on anything.
– The legal process can be expensive: Filing for divorce can be costly, both financially and emotionally.
– Your children could be negatively impacted: Divorce can cause major rifts between parents and children.
– Your finances could be negatively impacted: When you are divorced, you will have to divide your assets with your former spouse. This can lead to financial problems.
– You could lose spousal support: If you’re a stay at home parent and your spouse makes more than you, you could lose that spousal support.
– You could lose child support: If you’re the spouse who makes less than your child’s other parent, you could lose the child support you’re receiving.
– You could lose the marital house: If the marital house is in your spouse’s name only, you could lose the house.
If your marriage is hanging by a thread, you have to make a decision about what to do next. You have to decide if it is worth it to put in the time and effort to try to fix your marriage. Or if you would be better off ending things now before they get even worse. No matter which option you choose, you will be faced with challenges, but the right decision for you will make the process easier.