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Legal Separation vs Divorce?

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allfalldown posted 6/19/2013 21:23 PM

I am looking through all of my options and wondering if some here chose legal separation and why? It is not required in my state but seems to be a good financial option before divorce. Thanks in advance for sharing...

jo2love posted 6/20/2013 08:31 AM

Bumping in hopes that those who have knowledge of this, will read and give advice.

Faithful w/Love posted 6/20/2013 08:36 AM

I think it is a good option also. I would never rush into D if you are not ready to take that way, but I also think legal separation is also to protect you financially and with kids before D.

I don't have it here in my state either, but I am separated and I am glad I did that before D, to make sure it is what I wanted. But, that is just me.

7yrsflushed posted 6/20/2013 08:44 AM

In my state you must be legally S for 1 year before D. So I can't speak specifically to your situation but some pros to S are if you are on your WS's insurance in most cases they can't take you off if you are just S. You will want to get that in writing in an agreement with a L just in case their enrollment period comes around so they don't just drop you. But if you were D then they CAN'T legally have you on Insurance since you are no longer their spouse. So if you need insurance until you can find a job then the S route leaves that option open where D closes it.

S also gives you a chance to make sure a D is what you want. Also S gives you a chance to get your finances in order prior to D. Once the D is final anything not in the agreement/decree no longer matters in terms of finances. I know this is all general stuff but I am sure others will come along with better advice.

[This message edited by 7yrsflushed at 8:45 AM, June 20th (Thursday)]

velveteer posted 6/20/2013 09:06 AM

I am legally S, but I live in the UK so things are different.

I went this way on the advice of my lawyer. Legal S over here deals with the split of marital assets and can also include details of the arrangements for children (ours does). It is legally binding for the financial matters but not on the kids - because ours are younger than 16 years, the court must approve arrangements and legal S does not go to court.

Why did I do it? Financial protection. At the time my WXW was all over the map and the very mention of D was a big drama for her. It would also have her running for the lawyers. So, I suggested that we agree between us the split and I would draft something up, get my lawyer to write it up properly and register it - she agreed and that is exactly what we did.

It seemed at the time to be a less confrontational approach than serving her with D papers etc, and I knew that would play better for me. WXW would have escalated things if she had an asshole lawyer at her side - that is for certain. It was probably a bit manipulative on my part but so what - she destroyed our M and in any case I did play fair with the settlement. I also paid the lawyer's fees.

So now I am legally S even though we have been living apart from almost two years.

I managed to agree a fair deal in the S process and its all paid up now - the house is mine and WXW got her share of the equity plus 50% of my pension. I pay my CS and no alimony.

We share the kids probably around 55/45 (in her favour) but it works OK and we're as co-operative as we can be at this stage.

Also, the agreement that we have paves the way for a quicker, easier and cheaper divorce.

So - I think it worked for me. I don't know if it is cheaper - my lawyers bill for the legal S was around £2,000 plus about £700 for the legals for the house transfer and a bit extra for a new will. All in - £3-3,500 in fees and charges.

If I raise D (and its uncontested, which it should be) that would be another £1,400 but I hope to persuade WXW to do this. I'm well past the stage of wanting to be the one to file and would much rather save the cash. Her mid life crisis has cost me quite enough now thanks.

Hope this helps

cmego posted 6/20/2013 16:23 PM

I'm in VA, and if you go the "no-fault" route, with minor children, you must be separated for 1 year before you can file for D. Each state is different. If you don't have an attorney yet, I would suggest interviewing a few, or retaining one that A good L will help you navigate your choices.

Although I state I am separated, there is no "legal separation" here. It is the one year wait and most call is "legal separation". In reality we have a signed Separation Agreement/Property Settlement Agreement (PSA) that is considered a legal document. I have heard of many couple who fudge the "date of separation" so they can D quickly.

We have been S'd for 2.5 years for financial reasons. I am a full time student and we chose to say S'd allowing me to remain on his free and great health insurance. We have also reaped the tax benefits. But, I am itching to finalize the D. We are renegotiating the PSA and will file soon.

Crescita posted 6/20/2013 17:58 PM

I debated a legal S during a physical S for 3 months until I finally decided to file D. When I did file, I really regretted not having filed legal S earlier. It might have cost a little more, but WXH ran up quite a bit of debt in my name while we were separated, and it took him a year and a half following the D to pay it off. I was fortunate that he did pay (most of) it off, and I was able to maintain those lines of credit, but I was anxious about it the entire time, and it was a pain having to forward him the bills.

Also you might find it easier to negotiate fair terms during S than during D. There is usually less malice involved when itís not so final, and the S agreement will hold up if or when you are ready to file for D

[This message edited by Crescita at 5:58 PM, June 20th (Thursday)]

allfalldown posted 6/20/2013 21:08 PM

Thank you all for responding. S feels like the right thing to do for now. I like the idea that emotions may not run as high because it is not so final. Financially it is a better decision as well.

I'm sure I will have lots more questions down this new road.

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