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Legal separation: when divorce is not an option

Making the choice to end a committed relationship and move forward with divorce is not an easy decision. For many people, this decision comes after extensive discussions, planning and more. For you, however, it may not be quite time to file for divorce, but living together is not an option at this time either.

If you find yourself in this situation, it is possible you could benefit from a legal separation. A legal separation is an option when a couple no longer wants to live together, yet they are not quite ready to divorce. A time of separation may be for a limited period, or it can last indefinitely. For many New Hampshire couples, a separation agreement can serve as the foundation for a divorce order down the road.

What should be in your agreement?

There is much more to legal separation than one spouse simply moving out of the family home. By drafting a formal agreement for the time you do not live together, you are protecting your own interests and the interests of any minor children you have. Like a divorce, a separation agreement can address the following issues: 

  • Child custody
  • Visitation schedule
  • Which parent will make decisions for the children
  • Division of marital property
  • How spouses will handle joint expenses, such as insurance
  • Which spouse will remain in the family home
  • Spousal support and financial arrangements

You and your spouse may agree on these issues, but by legally clarifying your decisions through this type of agreement, you will limit the chance you could be involved in a complex dispute in the future. 

There are few reasons why a legal separation could be the most optimal choice for a couple. It allows a couple time and space to really consider their options, and they can continue to enjoy tax benefits by remaining married. In other situations, divorce is not an option for religious reasons, so a legal separation is the optimal choice. 

Help with all family law decisions

Family law decisions can impact you and your children for years to come. With much at stake and a lot on the line, it may help to seek guidance as you weigh your options and think about what is best for your unique situation. An experienced family law attorney can help you understand legal separation and counsel you regarding the protection of your legal rights and financial interests.

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