When a relationship begins to deteriorate, couples often take the decision to move to separate homes. However, this separation in itself does not constitute a change in legal status.
The process of legal separation updates the marital status, allowing for some benefits while formally dividing most financial and caregiving requirements. A legal separation ensures that finances, property division, child support and child custody are allocated through a binding legal agreement. However, because the marriage is still legally in place, benefits such as health insurance and inheritance hierarchies remain active.
The specifics of legal separation vary from state to state. In Colorado, the process is very similar to divorce. Hence, many couples use it as a precursor before completing the divorce transition at a later time.
Benefits of legal separation
There are many reasons why couples may choose legal separation over a divorce. Notably, divorce is frowned upon according to some religious beliefs. Therefore, legal separation can facilitate a much-needed change in direction at home without the drawbacks of divorce.
A further advantage of legal separation is the ability to maintain healthcare coverage. Relationships can often break down during periods of economic uncertainty, so the ability to access healthcare without further cost can be extremely important.
The division of property and financial obligations is another benefit of legal separation. Without a formal separation, spouses may still be held liable if their former partner gets into debt.
Some drawbacks of legal separation
During a legal separation, property division and childcare duties still need to be worked out. This can be time-consuming and potentially stressful. In this sense, legal separation bears some responsibility with the divorce process.
A further downside to legal separation is that it is not possible to remarry. Separated couples often maintain legally separated status for long periods of time. However, marrying a new partner will not be permitted until the divorce has been finalized.
Overall, legal separation offers couples a chance to gain their independence back and pursue a new domestic life, without taking on the finality of a divorce.