Is Legal Separation the Right Option For You and Your Spouse?
You may be considering ending the relationship between you and your spouse, but for one reason or another have not been able to come to terms with what a divorce would entail. Fortunately, in the state of Wisconsin, Legal Separation offers another option.
A legal separation is a court-ordered arrangement in which a married couple formalizes a separation while remaining legally married. The process of legal separation is actually quite similar to divorce in that the court order generally specifies the following:
Spousal Support or Alimony
Child Custody and Placement
Division of Property and Debts
Couples may seek legal separation over divorce for a variety of reasons. One common one is to accommodate religious beliefs. Since a legal separation grants most of the benefits of divorce while still keeping the marriage intact, a couple can lead their separate lives while abiding by the rules of their religion.
Legal separation can provide valuable financial protection for couples who wish to stay married but can no longer cohabitate. Many employer-sponsored insurance policies honor the legality of the marriage and will continue to cover the non-employed spouse. A legally separated spouse may also still be entitled to certain benefits like Social Security and pensions that provide pay-outs to surviving spouses. A divorce completely severs a marital relationship and will terminate these benefits.
If reconciliation is a possibility, a legal separation is a good way to separate finances and property while working towards that goal. A legal separation can be revoked, while a divorce cannot. A couple simply needs to file a document asking the court to vacate the separation order. If a couple had divorced and wanted to reconcile, they would have to wait six months from the finalized divorce and remarry to be legally reunified. If reconciliation cannot be achieved, you can escalate your legal separation to a divorce; either party can request that the separation is converted to a divorce after one year's time.
When considering legal separation or divorce, speaking to an experienced attorney will help you to choose a path that suits you and your spouse the best. You can contact us at Gage-Michaels Law firm to learn more.
Disclaimer: This blog post is made available for educational purposes only. It should not be relied upon for legal or tax advice and is not a substitute for legal research or a consultation with a qualified attorney.