Separation or divorce: Which makes more sense for you?

On behalf of The Marks Law Firm, L.L.C. posted in Legal Separation on Wednesday, January 11, 2012

For some couples in the St. Louis area experiencing marital difficulties, there is no doubt in their minds that divorce is their best option. For others, there’s hope of reconciliation, facilitated perhaps by a counselor or minister, or simply with time apart to think through their marriage problems.

For these people, a legal separation is an option they might find worth exploring. However, most experts agree that for both parties considering a separation, a legal separation agreement is a sound idea.

Forbes columnist Jeff Landers is among those divorce professionals who urges people to get a separation agreement. He says the legally binding document helps “to resolve issues such as the division of assets and debt, alimony/spousal support, child support and visitation.”

A legal separation agreement can also help reduce financial risk some people will find themselves exposed to in a separation rather than a divorce.

For example, when separated but not divorced, you’re still liable for your spouse’s debts. So if your spouse runs up bills during the separation, and refuses to pay creditors, you could be held financially responsible even though you’re not living together.

However, a legal separation agreement can limit your liability and help ensure that the person responsible for the debts is held liable for those bills.

Remember that some separations begin as a trial, and then wind up being substantially longer. People find that the separation works for them or that divorce seems less urgent than it did when living together, so the “trial” can go on for months or even years.

Talk with an experienced family law attorney about the legal options available to you in a separation or divorce.

Source: Forbes: “Legal Separation or Divorce: Which is Better Financially?,” Jeff Landers, Jan. 10, 2012

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