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Legal Separation vs. Divorce: What is the Difference?

legal separation vs divorce

Navigating the crossroads of a troubled marriage? You might be contemplating legal separation or divorce. But do you really know the difference between the two?

When deciding between legal separation and divorce, it’s important to understand their implications – financial, emotional, and effects on your family structure.

This article will guide you through these aspects, helping you make an informed decision that best suits your situation and aligns with your desire for stability and belonging.

Need help filing for divorce? An Anderson divorce lawyer from Steele Family Law can support you. Call us today to schedule a consultation.

Defining Legal Separation vs. Divorce

While both involve a couple living separately, a legal separation doesn’t end the marriage like a divorce does. You may be wondering about the difference between legal separation and divorce.

Here’s where defining legal separation vs. divorce becomes crucial.

In a legal separation, you’re still married but live apart from your spouse under the terms of a court order. It provides space and time to figure things out while maintaining certain marital benefits like health insurance.

On the other hand, in a divorce, your marriage is legally dissolved; it’s completely ended.

Understanding these differences can help you decide what’s best for your situation. Remember, whether choosing between legal separation and divorce, you’re not alone – many others have navigated this challenging journey before you. Steele Family Law offers personalized guidance on divorce and family law issues.

If you are considering a legal separation, seek help from an Anderson separation agreements lawyer.

Financial Implications

Under South Carolina law, it’s important to clarify the distinctions between legal separation and divorce. In a legal separation, your marital status remains intact, but property and debt division is finalized through a final order of separate support and maintenance. This means that the assets and debts are legally divided according to the laws of South Carolina or an agreement between both parties. It’s crucial to understand that in South Carolina, a legal separation does provide closure in terms of property and debt matters, even though the marital status remains unchanged.

On the other hand, a divorce in South Carolina completely severs the marital ties, including the legal relationship between you and your spouse. All assets and debts are divided as per the state’s laws or a mutual agreement, just as in the case of a legal separation. However, in addition to this division, a divorce finalizes the marital status, marking a clear and permanent end to the marriage.

It’s essential to recognize these distinctions under South Carolina law, as they will significantly impact your financial situation during this challenging transition. Whether you choose a legal separation or a divorce will depend on your specific circumstances and goals, and consulting with a qualified divorce attorney in South Carolina is advisable to make the best decision for your situation.

Impact on Marital Status

When choosing between legal separation and divorce for your marriage, you may want to consider the impact each option has on marital status.

With legal separation, you remain legally married despite living separately from your spouse. This means that while you can live independently, you cannot remarry or enter into a domestic partnership with someone else.

On the other hand, divorce legally ends your marriage entirely. After completing all legal processes and settling any disputes, you are no longer tied to your former spouse in any way. You regain the freedom to marry or partner with others if you wish to do so in the future.

Understanding the impact on marital status is essential for making an informed decision about your relationship’s future.

Effects on Child Custody and Support

Child custody and support are vital considerations, and your choice between legal separation and divorce can significantly impact these aspects under South Carolina law, always prioritizing the child’s best interests.

Importantly, both legal separation and divorce in South Carolina can result in a final and binding ruling on child custody and support, akin to divorce decrees. These orders can be modified upon demonstrating substantial changes in circumstances but hold the same level of finality.

Additionally, legal separation in South Carolina has implications for insurance coverage. With a final order of separate support and maintenance, the marriage persists, allowing continued insurance coverage for a spouse. In contrast, divorce severs the marital bond, potentially terminating insurance coverage unless specified otherwise in the divorce decree.

Given the complex manner of these legal issues, professional guidance is essential. An Anderson divorce attorney can offer guidance for your best outcome, be it through legal separation or divorce.

If you need help with child custody and support, contact an Anderson child custody lawyer.

Emotional Considerations

Emotional considerations may affect whether you choose to legally separate or to get a divorce.

Well, when it comes to emotions, one key distinction lies in your marital status. Choosing legal separation means you’re still legally married, offering the possibility of reconciliation. This choice might comfort you if you’re not ready for the finality of a divorce or if hope for rekindling your relationship remains.

However, it may also prolong emotional pain and uncertainty if reconciliation isn’t likely. Ultimately, understanding these emotional considerations is crucial in choosing between legal separation or divorce. Remember that your feelings matter; they should play an essential role in your decision-making process.

Contact an Anderson Divorce Lawyer Today

When choosing between legal separation and divorce, it’s helpful to know the differences. Legal separation means you live apart but still have some marriage benefits. Divorce means the marriage ends completely.

Steele Family Law understands how important this choice is. We’re here to help, no matter what choice you make. Whether you want a fresh start or a break, our team guides you through the entire process. You can rely on our quality guidance, legal experience, and compassionate support.

Get in touch with us – your future matters. Move forward with Steele Family Law’s support. We’re here to make things smoother as you take this critical step.

Contact us today to schedule a consultation.

Author Bio

Greg Steele is CEO and Managing Partner of Steele Family Law, a South Carolina estate planning and family law firm. With years of experience in practicing law, he has zealously represented clients in a wide range of legal matters, including divorce, child custody and support, estate planning, probate, and other legal cases.

Greg received his Juris Doctor from the University of Georgia and is a member of the South Carolina Bar Association. He has received numerous accolades for his work, including being named among Anderson’s Top 20 Under 40 in 2022.

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