By: Dustin Humphrey
Marriages can be tough. While it is an uncomfortable subject to discuss, our lawyers at Skeeters, Bennett, Wilson & Pike think it is important you understand the differences between legal separation and divorce. Many times these terms are used interchangeably, but they are quite different from a legal standpoint.
Q – How is a legal separation different than a divorce?
A – A legal separation does not put an end to a marriage, but enables the couple to live separately while remaining married. During the time the couple is living apart, they abide by a court order, which outlines the rights and responsibilities of each spouse.
Q – What does the court order outline?
A – Issues that can be addressed in a separation agreement include division of assets and debts, child custody and child support, visitation schedules and spousal support.
Q – Can I choose to divorce at any point after our separation?
A – Yes. It is important to note that the same issues addressed during the divorce process are also addressed during a separation agreement. Therefore, you should be satisfied with the terms of your separation agreement as they may end up being long-term. The separation agreement often sets the precedent for a subsequent divorce.
Q – Why be “legally” separated if we can just live apart without a court order?
A – A legal separation agreement can protect an individual in case his or her spouse fails to live up to the outlines of the agreement. Without a legal agreement, there is no accountability before a court.
Q – What are the advantages of a legal separation vs. a divorce?
A – Unlike a divorce, a legal separation allows couples time apart than often can bring about clarity. Many times, couples return to their marriages when the conflict is settled. A legal separation also allows for the retention of certain benefits, like insurance, that a divorce would bring to an end.
No one gets married hoping to later separate or divorce. The attorneys at Skeeters, Bennett, Wilson & Pike hurt with our clients who are going through such an unfortunate circumstance. Make sure you talk to an attorney if you have any further questions concerning a separation or divorce.
Dustin joined the SBW&P team in 2010, coming to us from one of the oldest firms in Cincinnati. He earned his undergraduate degree from Bellarmine University, summa cum laude, and his law degree from the Salmon P. Chase College of Law at Northern Kentucky University, where he graduated cum laude. Dustin’s law practice includes personal injury law, medical malpractice law, business law including corporations, LLCs and business planning, real estate law, probate law, estate planning, employment law, and family law.