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How legal separation can help protect your assets

Many Ohio couples choose to go through a "trial separation" if they are considering divorce. Sometimes, though, this trial period can go on for too long. While some may think they're being practical and economical by not taking formal legal action to end the marriage, it could end up hurting one or both spouses in the end.

If a couple has been living apart for a while but is still not sure they want to divorce, a legal separation agreement is a good way to help protect your assets and other aspects of your life. This legally binding contract allows a married couple to hash out the details of their lives, including child support, visitation, alimony and property division.

By taking this first legal step, which some states actually require before divorce, you can protect yourself from certain financial risks that can come with living separately but still being married. Without a legal separation agreement in place, you could end up having to cover for your spouse if, for example, he or she fails to pay off debts. It can also limit your responsibility for any debt your spouse incurs during your separation.

Another reason to have a legal separation agreement is to protect your share of any assets that were acquired during your marriage. Without an agreement, your portion of the property could be wiped out if your spouse manages finances poorly.

In the end, a trial separation before divorce is appropriate for some couples, but it is equally important that you take the necessary steps to protect yourself during this time. If you are considering a trial separation, it may be helpful to speak with an experienced Ohio family law attorney about a legal separation agreement.

Source: Forbes, "Legal Separation or Divorce: Which is Better Financially?" Jeff Landers, Jan. 10, 2012

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