The Benefits of Legally Separating
If you are married and debating whether or not you want to get divorced, an option available to you is to become legally separated. This will allow you to separate both physically and in the eyes of the court. Most people do not understand that simply moving out of the house is not enough to make you legally separated. While you may no longer share an address, dinner, bill payments, or a social calendar, you are still technically married.
Why You Should Legally Separate
When you go to court and apply for a legal separation, you and your spouse are no longer able to bind each other in contractual obligations. For example, if your spouse signs a business agreement, you will not be bound by its terms or consequences. Simultaneously, if your spouse goes out and spends $10,000 on credit cards, that debt will be their responsibility and will not be divided up if you do eventually divorce.
Getting Divorced Takes Time
If you are considering getting divorced, understand that it takes time to go through the process. Even if you are both in agreement, it can take six months or more to go through the court system, sort everything out, and end up with a final dissolution. More complicated cases have been known to last for two years.
A great deal can happen in this time frame, and that is why even if you don’t legally separate, you should at least have a lawyer represent you in court, asking for temporary orders. This is a way for the court to decide who lives in the home and what happens with the bank accounts and credit cards on a temporary basis. Very often, things are frozen until the final court hearing or an order is issued saying that any debts occurred from that point on are the sole responsibility of the person accruing them, etc. These are just a few of the types of temporary orders that can be granted in order to protect you through the divorce process.
You Can Change Your Mind
The ultimate benefit of legally separating is that you can change your mind and reconcile at a later date. If you and your spouse are unhappy, need time apart, but are interested in going to counseling or seeing if your relationship can mend, a legal separation allows you to take the time to figure that out. At the Law Office of Laurence J. Brock, we can walk you through this process to ensure that your financial assets are protected while you are evaluating and potentially working on your relationship.
Do you know anyone who has physically separated from their spouse but not done so legally? If so, share this blog with them so they can take steps to protect themselves.