Pros and Cons of Legal Separation in Ohio
When a married couple is going through a period of difficulty and it feels like the relationship is no longer working, divorce may seem like the only answer. In Ohio, however, couples have another intermediary option between marriage and divorce. They can choose a period of legal separation to evaluate whether the problems in their marriage can be resolved.
Legal separation is a court-ordered status that allows a couple to part company but remain legally married. During the separation, the couple may seek many of the same types of support available in a divorce, including spousal support and child support and can even seek division of assets.
There are some advantages to pursuing legal separation instead of divorce. For couples who want more time to consider whether they really want to be apart for good, legal separation can give them an opportunity to feel out what a divorce might be like while at the same time allowing for the possibility of reconciliation. Similarly, for people with cultural or religious backgrounds that frown upon divorce, legal separation can be a good alternative. Legal separation can also allow couples to maintain certain benefits that may only be available in a marriage, including health insurance or life insurance. However, individuals who are beneficiaries of their spouse’s health insurance plan should be certain to check that the plan doesn’t have a specific provision that would terminate coverage upon legal separation.
Despite those advantages, it is important to also be aware of the downsides of legal separation as compared to divorce. Most significantly, because couples remain legally married during a legal separation, there is no ability for either spouse to remarry. If either spouse is certain that the relationship is over, divorce may be a better option, allowing them to finalize the end of their marriage and move forward with their lives. Divorce can also be a more cost effective and efficient option than paying to go through a legal separation and then a divorce, even though a divorce following a legal separation is generally a simpler process.
If you are considering the possibility of splitting up with your spouse and want assistance in evaluating whether a divorce or legal separation may be a better option, an experienced divorce attorney can help advise you on the benefits and disadvantages of legal separation. A divorce attorney will also guide you through your legal separation case and assist you in maintaining the benefits and assets that you need.
At Mock Law, L.P.A. in Toledo, we provide effective representation for spouses throughout Ohio going through legal separation or divorce. To set up a time to speak with one of our attorneys, please call 567-200-3573 or contact us online.