Justia Lawyer Rating
Justia Lawyer Rating
National Bar Association
Fort Bend County Bar Association
State Bar of Texas
United States District Court of Southern Texas
Texas Supreme Court
Avvo Reviews Badge
Texas Bar College
Expertise Best Divorce Lawyers in Houston

A Comprehensive Guide to Divorce Versus Legal Separation

A Comprehensive Guide To Divorce Versus Legal SeparationCouples with marital issues may decide to end their marriage, either through a divorce or legal separation. Divorce dissolves the marriage while legal separation remains in effect. These arrangements create financial distance and present legal limitations regarding child custody, support, spousal support, and debt management.

A divorce completely dissolves a marriage, meaning that all assets must be divided between both parties. This can be an expensive process, as well as emotionally draining for both parties involved. On the other hand, a legal separation does not dissolve the marriage; it simply allows both parties to live separately while still being legally married. This means that any assets acquired during the period of separation remain the separate property of each spouse. If either party wishes to marry again in the future, a legal separation may be more beneficial than a divorce and could minimize costs associated with the dissolution of the marriage.

What Is a Legal Separation?

A legal separation is a way for married couples to separate without getting divorced. It allows them to live apart while still being legally married, and it can be a good option for couples who are not ready to end their marriage but need some space. A legal separation requires both spouses to agree on the terms of the separation, which must be approved by a court. This agreement typically includes details about how property will be divided, how child custody and visitation will be handled, and how financial obligations such as alimony or child support will be paid.

The process of legally separating is different from state to state but generally involves filing paperwork with the court and attending hearings. Once the court approves the agreement, it becomes legally binding and both parties must abide by its terms. Legal separations can last indefinitely or until one spouse decides to file for divorce. They can also provide an opportunity for couples to reconcile if they decide that they want to stay together after all.

Financial Responsibility During Separation

When couples separate, it is important to understand the financial responsibilities that each party has. Generally speaking, any new debt taken on after the separation is the responsibility of the individual who incurred it. However, if there are existing debts or other financial obligations that were acquired during the marriage, both parties are still responsible for them. This can include credit card debt, mortgages, car loans, and other types of debt.

To ensure that each spouse understands their financial responsibilities during a separation, it is recommended to create a legal separation agreement. This document should outline which spouse is responsible for which debts and should be signed by both parties in order to be legally binding. It is also important to keep track of all payments made towards these debts so that each party can be held accountable for their share of the responsibility. By understanding and adhering to these guidelines, couples can ensure that they remain financially responsible during a separation.

How Is Divorce Different?

Legal separation is a court-approved agreement that allows spouses to live apart without ending their marriage. Individuals might consider this option for personal or financial reasons, such as preserving the family structure for young children. Additionally, legal separation can provide time to think things through without risking financial security. Additionally, some couples might opt for legal separation due to religious beliefs prohibiting divorce.

Unlike a divorce, which is permanent and cannot be reversed, a legal separation can be reversed at any time by filing an action in court and having the court issue an order rescinding the agreement. This means that if the couple decides they want to reconcile after separating legally, they are able to do so without having to go through the process of getting divorced again. Additionally, during this period of separation, couples are still considered married under the law and are therefore able to continue receiving certain benefits such as health insurance coverage or tax deductions from being married.

Reasons to Choose a Divorce

Making the decision to divorce can be challenging, however, it could be favorable in certain circumstances. If there are no monetary gains from legal separation and a divorce is desired, then it might be sensible to proceed directly with the divorce. This way valuable time and resources can be preserved, as repeating the process would not be necessary. Furthermore, a divorce is necessary if an individual wants to remarry, since it is legally impossible while the current marriage continues.

If a couple wants to have no connection with each other regarding medical or financial decisions, they may consider divorce. It is important to take into account all state laws before making a decision. Before committing to ending the marriage, it is essential to carefully consider all available options.

Talk to a Lawyer

An experienced divorce attorney in Harris County, Galveston County, Fort Bend County, Montgomery County, Brazoria County, Houston, Sugar Land, Missouri City, and Stafford, Texas at Thornton Esquire Law Group, PLLC, can provide guidance and offer advice throughout the entire process. Contact us today at www.thorntonesquirelawgroup.com for a free consultation.

Client Reviews
Selecting an attorney can be one of the most difficult decisions a person has to make. In what seems like an overwhelming sea of attorneys who do you choose? Are they qualified, compassionate, and are they willing to fight for you without compromising their integrity? When faced with this decision in 2016 I received this and more when I retained Rahlita Thornton as my attorney. Since 2016 she has represented me on several court cases and I've never been disappointed. She is well versed and very knowledgeable on many aspects of the law. Attorney Thornton and her staff work diligently to ensure no stone is left unturned and justice is served. When I was crippled with fear, bullied, and felt like giving up she was my voice. She is highly recommend and I'm truly blessed to have her in my life. TTW
It was a divine power that drove me to call. There are ton of lawyers online but I knew this attorney was the one for me. C.B., Divorce Client
Attention & communication is very good when working with this professional legal team. They are here to help you whenever questions arise and explain details as they go. Thank you for taking the time to accept my case & working with me. P.L.