A divorce is the legal and final end to a marriage, which is why some couples may not want to rush into a decision. In fact, couples in Columbus may decide to separate for a time to decide if divorce is really what they want, may not be able to immediately divorce due to the residency requirement or a number of other reasons. While there is nothing wrong with this plan of action, couples who want to go down this road might want to consider a legal separation instead of an informal one.
A legal separation places very strict rules and protections that mirror those in a divorce, but the couple stays married under the eyes of the law. Why would someone want to have this legally enforceable agreement? Keep reading for a few good reasons why having this document is more than a prudent decision.
Spouses living apart don’t know what one another are doing day to day and may not have the same access to financial documents. What happens if the other spouse starts making some expensive purchases on credit cards or enters into a risky investment? The money that funds these actions is considered marital property until a divorce is filed or without a legal separation declaring otherwise. If there is no funding, the debt that is incurred is shared as well.
If that fact isn’t enough to decide to seek the legal protection of a separation agreement drafted with an attorney, there are more.
Even a separation entered into amicably doesn’t guarantee that the other spouse will act with honorable intentions. The longer a separation lasts, the more time that a spouse has to hide assets in preparation for a divorce.
There are even other less willful actions that could cause problems. These may include the other spouse moving to a state with different divorce laws — maybe ones that are more favorable to the other spouse. Someone could lose their job, altering a possible alimony or child support obligation.
What about issues unrelated to money? What if you meet someone new? Entering into divorce negotiations with a new relationship doesn’t always make the process easy. What if your spouse meets someone knew? What if the spouse introduces a new girlfriend or boyfriend to the kids? A separation agreement can provide guidelines for these types of issues.
Source: Forbes, “Putting Off Divorce? Ten Ways Long-term Separations Can Do Women More Harm Than Good,” Jeff Landers, Oct. 3, 2013