Most people get married believing that they will have a lasting relationship. However, that is not always the outcome.
In certain situations, parties may not be completely ready to enter the divorce process, or they may benefit from other separation methods. There are a few key considerations that may help to determine whether legal separation or divorce is best.
In many ways, divorce and legal separation are quite similar. Both processes work to separate assets of the two parties. The parties must also work through issues such as child support and alimony and file the appropriate paperwork for the separation to be legally binding.
The major difference between the two processes is the end result. Once a divorce is complete, the two parties are no longer legally bound to each other. On the other hand, a legal separation leaves the divorce in tact. Therefore, parties still have the option to reconcile and remain married, or they may continue with the process and obtain a divorce down the road.
The decision to get a divorce or a legal separation truly depends upon the parties' needs and situation. For those who still have hope for reconciliation, or who have additional motivations for not divorcing but desire a form of separation, a legal separation may be beneficial. The state of Washington provides a family law handbook to assist residents in understanding how laws apply to them, which can be beneficial for those who desire clarity regarding the legal ramifications of both options.
Both legal separation and divorce are serious legal process, and parties should be sure of the decision they choose to make. Along with discussing options with the other party, it may also be beneficial for parties to review the divorce laws of the state.