When a Virginia married couple agrees that their relationship is over, many choose to move forward with divorce. However, this may not be an option for you for many reasons, yet there are still ways you can formally end your relationship. You can do this through legal separation.
There are certain unique situations in which a legal separation is the most appropriate course of action. In fact, you can use your separation agreement as a way to lay the foundation for a future divorce, if you choose to move forward with that later on. If you believe that legal separation is the right choice for you, it is smart to fully explore all of the options available to you before making any important decisions.
Why legal separation?
Unlike a divorce, a legal separation does not formally end the legal relationship between two married parties. However, there are many reasons why it is smart to pursue a thoughtful separation agreement. Some examples include the following:
- There are religious reasons preventing one or both parties from moving forward with a divorce.
- One or both parties expect their separation to last a long time, and they wish to have a clear understanding of individual rights and responsibilities in the interim.
- Two parties want to remain married but live separately, which means they need an agreement regarding child support, custody, visitation, alimony and more.
Legal separation can allow both parties to be very clear on issues regarding property rights and other sensitive matters during a time of separation. It is common for one party to move out of the family home after the decision to divorce is made, but an informal or verbal agreement between you and your spouse may not be enough.
Many couples find security and clarity in having a formal separation agreement drafted. This could be in the best interests of you, the other party and your children.
The foundation for divorce
After a time of separation, you can use your separation agreement as a springboard for a faster and easier divorce, if that is your choice. When legal separations are thoughtful, effective and workable, they can lay the foundation for a final divorce order that works for every member of the family.
Even though a legal separation is not a divorce, it is still prudent to take the opportunity to ensure the full protection of your rights and interests. If are considering a legal separation, you should start by seeking an evaluation of your case.