Category: Separation
Questions/Answers
Why would a couple want a legal separation instead of a divorce?
Sometimes couples have religious reasons for not wanting a divorce. In addition, in some no-fault states, a legal separation is grounds for a divorce. If the couple lives apart in a legal separation for a specific time period set by state law (New Jersey is 18 Months), either the husband or the wife can file for divorce under no fault grounds. If the couple in this situation does not have a legal separation, the husband or the wife would have to file under some other type of grounds, which is almost always placing marital fault.
Is a separation the same thing as a divorce?
No, legally speaking, a separation is very different from a divorce. A divorce is a legal proceeding whereby spouses cease to be husband and wife. A separation occurs when the couple is living apart but are still legally married. In the case of what is known as a "legal separation," a judge will rule on the property issues, child custody, visitation, and support, but will not grant a divorce. The couple has divided their household, but are still husband and wife until deciding to divorce.
Should you get a divorce?
Remember, you are not the only person involved in this divorce. It takes two to tango, and if you have children, they will be involved as well. Divorce is an emotional, social, and financial minefield that you should enter with care. There is a lot to consider beyond the simple thought of ending a relationship. What about your relatives? What about your mutual friends? What are the financial repercussions? How do I tell the children? What will the children do? Etc.
Helpful Tips and Facts
Unmarried Couples Separating: Emotional Aspects
Sometimes friends and family minimize the impact of the separation because the couple never married. And even couples themselves are sometimes surprised by the intensity of their reactions. Actually, people experience the same kinds of feelings as those ending a legal marriage: denial, anger, questioning, grieving, sadness, anxiety, acceptance, relief, and impatience to move forward. Without the specific time period needed for a married couple to get an uncontested divorce, it is not unusual for a long period of time to pass after the physical separation before people sit down to formally resolve property and/or parenting issues. Sometimes one person initiates the resolution process because they are in a new relationship or planning to get married. This can stir up have additional feelings and situations with which to cope.