Usually, the grounds and procedure for legal separation and divorce are identical. Unlike several other states, Connecticut provides for a decree of legal separation, which allows it to serve the same legal function as a divorce decree. Both legal separation and divorce protect your interests and those of the children, but, the approach that works best for you will depend on your particular situation. Here are a few key features to help you get a better understanding of these approaches:
Both Approaches Tackle the Same Issues
Both Legal separation and divorce are meant to protect couples’ rights as well as those of the children. Therefore, they both address child custody/support, the division of assets, alimony, income and debts, and much more. Mediation and collaborative laws are also available for you and your spouse in both approaches, but if you can’t agree on something important, you should consider litigation.
Inability to Remarry
Divorce leaves you free to date and marry someone else. On the other hand, there’s no dissolution of marriage in a legal separation, which means that parties are unable to remarry. Legal separation is a better option for couples who want to separate but are unsure if it is forever. That way, if you wish to reconcile, you simply ask the court to vacate the legal separation. Legal separation is indefinite, but if couples are unable to resume marriage after separation, one of the spouses can submit a petition to convert legal separation to divorce.
Each Couple is Unique
If you feel that your marriage has come to an end, divorce seems like the most logical thing to do. Both legal separation and divorce protect you from being held responsible for any taxes, debt, or liability incurred by your partner after separation. However, certain life situations make some couples lean towards legal separation. They include:
- Religious reasons
- Financial benefits: Some want to remain technically married so as to meet the ten-year requirement that entitles couples to certain social security benefits of a partner. Also, legally separated couples may be allowed to maintain certain benefits plans such as health insurance and spouse’s pension.
Do you need a Divorce Attorney?
Legal separation gives room for reconciliation, but in the meantime, you only remain married, technically. Since both legal separation and divorce tackle the same issues and can become complicated, you need a qualified attorney to help you achieve the best possible outcome. Attorney Jeffrey D. Brownstein is a results-oriented, highly versatile CT attorney. We offer affordable solutions-focused legal representation for residents in Meriden, Connecticut and its environs.