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Legal separation versus divorce: what is the right choice for me?

For some Ohio couples, divorce is not the best option, even when a marriage is essentially over. For various reasons, it may be better to remain married while maintaining separate households, and for this reason, a legal separation agreement may be necessary. Such an agreement provides protection for both parties in this situation. 

If you are considering separating from your spouse or are already living apart, you would be wise to ensure that you have the necessary legal protections in place. Simply moving out is not the only step that you might take. A legal separation agreement provides clarity, outlines responsibilities and eliminates the risk of complicated problems between the two spouses. 

What is a legal separation agreement?

A legal separation agreement is for couples who do not wish to divorce at this present time, but those who wish to maintain separate lives, including finances and more. When drafted properly, this agreement outlines legally enforceable rights and obligations for both parties. A legal separation agreement will address the following:

  • Spousal support
  • Money and property division
  • Who will remain in the marital home
  • Child support
  • Custody schedule
  • Visitation rights
  • Division of marital vehicles

This generally applies for couples who wish to permanently separate, not those exploring the benefits of a trial separation. There are many reasons why a couple may choose to remain married instead of divorce, including the tax benefits of remaining married and religious reasons.

Like a divorce agreement, a legal separation agreement will have a significant impact on you and other members of your family. You will find it beneficial not to take this agreement lightly, but to work with an experienced attorney to help you make decisions that are positive and workable for as long as the separation lasts.

The importance of a strong legal separation agreement

Legal separation from a spouse is a difficult choice, even if you are not moving forward with a divorce at this time. A strong separation agreement will not only help you avoid unnecessary complications and disputes, it could also be the foundation of a divorce agreement if you choose to do that at some point in the future.

Crafting an agreement can be a lengthy and arduous process, but you do not have to walk through it alone. By working with an experienced legal ally, you can have peace of mind regarding the terms of your agreement and draft a plan that suits the unique needs and objectives of your family.

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