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Legal separation – a potential stepping-stone to divorce

On Behalf of | Mar 26, 2021 | high asset divorce |

When a marriage is over, it does not necessarily mean a Minnesota couple is ready to move forward with a divorce. For many reasons, it may be preferable to live separately while deciding what to do next or attempting to repair the relationship. Some couples may benefit from a legal separation instead of immediately moving forward with a divorce filing.

If you wish to live separately from your spouse, there is a lot more involved than simply moving out. There are certain legal steps you will want to take that will allow you to protect your interests while you are living apart. For many couples, a legal separation agreement is a practical stepping-stone to an amicable divorce in the future.

Why separate?

Making the decision to divorce is a complicated, emotional and potentially life-altering choice. It’s normal to feel like you would benefit from the opportunity to consider the implications and benefits of a divorce while living in your own space. Some of the reasons many couples opt to first separate rather than divorce include:

  • It provides the opportunity to see how child custody and visitation decisions will work in real life.
  • It may be less expensive to separate rather than divorce immediately, and there could be tax benefits to remaining married.
  • Remaining married while living separately may allow a couple to adhere to specific religious beliefs.

If you choose to separate, you will need a formal legal separation agreement. A verbal agreement cannot protect your interests in the event there is a dispute with your spouse during the separation. There is significant benefit in carefully considering the terms of this agreement, even though you aren’t divorcing. In some situations, a separation agreement is the foundation for a divorce agreement, which could minimize disputes in the event the separated couple decides to legally end their marriage.

Considering your future

Even during a separation, your future security could be at stake. Your separation agreement can include terms that pertain to custody, visitation, property division, child support, spousal support and more. While a separation may not be permanent, this agreement will still impact your legal and financial interests in a significant way.

This is why it is crucial to consider the importance of the terms of your separation agreement. You may not be ready for a divorce, but there are still things you can do that will shield your interests regardless of what you decide is best for your future.