Most marriages have their share of highs and lows. And while some recover and stabilize after the peaks or valleys, some spouses need time to reassess their relationship.
That’s why legal separation can be a good thing for some individuals.
Why people separate instead of divorce
Here are common reasons why people opt for legal separation, or separate maintenance, as it is called in Georgia.
- A divorce is not in line with spouses’ religious or spiritual beliefs.
- Parties are not ready to terminate the marriage, but they want to live separately.
- Spouses feel divorce is not in the best interests of their child or children.
- A spouse could lose medical coverage and other benefits in a divorce.
For these and other reasons, parties may want to live separately but not divorce.
Settling legal matters
Though still married, parties who separate need to address legal issues such as child custody and financial support.
Separation agreements are similar to the agreements parties reach in a divorce. There is a separate maintenance order in place, like a divorce agreement.
Regarding custody, parties (or the courts) decide parenting time and schedules. A judge reviews the order and approves or disapproves it. Parties may also need to secure orders for child support and spousal support and divide property and debts.
These orders can provide clarity and direction for parties who are living separately but remain married.
It is also important to note that when parties separate, they cannot remarry until they divorce. On the other hand, if parties do reconcile, they can move back together at any time.
Finding the right solution
Living separately without divorcing can be appealing to people for many reasons. However, there are legal aspects to it that can be more complicated than people expect, which is why representation by an attorney can be valuable.
Approaching separation equipped with support and an understanding of what it entails can make it easier to navigate the process. It can also allow parties to prepare financially and emotionally for the next chapter.