Legal Separation or Divorce : Which Is The Better Option?


shutterstock_134380532There comes a point in time when married couples realize that there is no point continuing their relationship. When their marriage is in shambles, the first thing that comes to mind is divorce. But there is another possible option that they can consider and that is legal separation. These are two different legal issues that couples can resort to if they want to end their marriage. But which is the better option? Would you rather be legally separated or divorced?

Knowing The Difference

Before deciding on the better option, it is worth understanding the difference of the two. Legal separation is an agreement entered into by couples acknowledging that they are still married but not living together. It is a contract that defines handling of assets, liabilities, and other financial matters.

Divorce, on the other hand, dissolves the marriage. This means that they become single again and thus can marry again. The couple signs an agreement that lays down details on distribution of properties or assets, child custody, visitation, and support.

The Right Choice

Staying legally separated is a better option than divorce for a variety of reasons. It gives the couples time to decide if they really want to divorce or give their marriage one more try. By opting for legal separation, you are protecting yourself from desertion. If there is no agreement, the spouse could be charged for desertion or abandonment.

Second, legal separation gives the children of the married couple to prepare themselves emotionally for the change or adjust themselves to the new situation. Divorce can carry with it a social stigma which can carry over to the children. It is quite clear that the most affected when married couples decide to end the marriage are the children.

A third reason to choose legal separation over divorce is that a spouse can still enjoy the medical benefits of their spouse’s health care plan. If they are a spouse of a military personnel, legal separation is the best option if they want to enjoy the benefits provided by the Uniformed Services Former Spouse Protection Act, provided that they stay married for a minimum of 10 years to enjoy the benefits accorded to members.

Ending a marriage is never an easy decision. There are many individuals who will be affected most specially children. So as much as possible, try and work out your differences and save the marriage for the sake of your children.

Read More

Temporary Alimony Dependent on Need, Other Factors

Alimony, or as some call it by the more politically correct term spousal support, in Texas is not a given. There are several types of alimony that may be awarded, and one of them is temporary alimony. It is also known as alimony pendent lite which means “pending suit,” and it is usually awarded while the divorce process is ongoing.

As the term implies, temporary alimony is of limited duration, although the same terms in a temporary alimony award may be used for a longer term after the divorce is final as a rehabilitative or permanent alimony. Temporary alimony is intended to prevent financial hardship for the spouse who has no independent means of support or who may be earning significantly less until such time as the divorce is final. There are no hard and fast rules for the granting of or terms of temporary alimony; it will depend on circumstances presented before the judge. In general, though, spousal support is $2,500 monthly or 20% of the income of the supporting spouse whichever is higher and will not extend beyond 3 years after the divorce has been finalized unless the petitioning spouse is disabled.

Factors that may determine whether temporary alimony will be granted and how much include:

  • Financial situation of the petitioning spouse and supporting spouse
  • Ability and capability of the petitioning spouse to find gainful employment (includes skills, education, age, physical health, role as caregiver)
  • Responsibility of either spouse for the needless loss of community property or incurring of superfluous debt
  • Role of the unemployed spouse in the home
  • Extent of the efforts of petitioning spouse to find gainful employment or training
  • Marital misconduct of the petitioning spouse
  • Child custody

The petitioning spouse has to prove that there is a real need and hardship existing as a result of a divorce petition. Because a typical divorce can take as much as two years to finalize, temporary alimony serves a significant purpose.

Read More

Polls Discuss How a Divorce Attorney Can Help with Alimony

divorcingcouplealimonyThe dissolution of a marriage is not only emotionally upsetting, it is also financially complicated. When a couple gets married, the implication is that the two people involved share everything, and everything is jointly owned. If they decide to get divorce, an equitable separation of their money and assets can lead to extended arguments that often get out of hand. An experienced divorce attorney can make this process easier for you by drafting an alimony agreement that both parties can live with.

Alimony, also known as spousal support, is the amount of financial support that a spouse gives to a wife or husband, and is mandated by the divorce court. Permanent alimony is not automatic, and the spouse who may not have a means of livelihood may request for temporary alimony during the divorce. This temporary support is based on the living standards of the couple prior to filing for divorce. This tends to be higher than permanent alimony, when it is given, but it cannot be more than 33% of the paying spouse’s income.

The role of a divorce attorney is to determine if there is any direct fault that led to divorce. Having fault in a marriage can be defined as many different things, such as abuse, infidelity, or abandonment.  If fault can be proven on the part of the spouse requesting alimony, then alimony may be denied.

If alimony is justified, the amount will be mandated by the judge based on the ability of the spouse requesting for alimony to be self-supporting, how long the marriage had lasted, the number of dependent children, overall health, and age. Alimony payments ceases a soon as the receiving spouse remarries, moves in with a partner, or a paying or receiving ex-spouse passes away.

Read More