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What is the Difference Between Divorce and Legal Separation?

When people get married, it is usually done with the hope that it will last forever. However, this is unfortunately not always the case. While many people go right to divorce, there are many cases in which married couples are not ready for this step but no longer wish to live together. It is because of this that there are different decisions that can be made regarding the state of a marriage. Individuals facing these matters should retain the services of an experienced New Jersey divorce attorney for assistance.

What is Separation?

When two people no longer wish to be together but are not ready to go through the process of divorce, they can separate. There are two types of separations: 

  • Trial Separations: This is not legally binding or recorded on paper. Simply put, it means that two spouses have decided to live separately for an undetermined period of time. Their marriage is not dissolved, which is why there is no need to involve the court. 
  • Legal Separations: These situations require legal documentation. Both spouses must have an attorney so that a separation agreement can be drawn up and adjudicated in court. This agreement contains each party’s legal and financial obligations as well as their marital issues, such as custody, if applicable. It is important to know that, in these situations, spouses are still legally married and unable to enter other marriages.

What is Divorce?

The definition of a divorce is the full dissolution of a marriage. This means that when a final divorce decree is entered, both parties are no longer married. Their assets are divided, debts are allocated, custody and visitation are determined, spousal support is resolved, and both parties can be remarried if they choose to do so. 

Which Situation is Better?

When trying to decide whether a separation or divorce is better for you, it is important to remember that there are benefits to both. The choice that is made is simply dependent upon the situations of the couple in question. The main reasons that legal separation is requested are for work benefits, health insurance, or other obligations. It is also used as a transition period before moving forward with a divorce. In addition to this, these processes are usually less expensive, as they do not require the extensive documentation and court fees that divorce does. On the other hand, if the couple wants to make a complete break from one another, they should file for divorce.

Contact our Firm

If you need an experienced legal team to guide you through your divorce, contact Townsend, Tomaio & Newmark L.L.C today.