Legal Separation vs. Divorce
Married couples that are unhappy with their relationship have the option of filing for legal separation or divorce in Indiana. Both legal separation and divorce will change the state of your relationship, which is why it’s important to thoroughly understand each option before you decide which is right for you.
The Differences Between Legal Separation and Divorce
Filing for divorce will permanently end your marriage, but filing for legal separation will not. Couples that are legally separated are still married, and they must decide within one year whether they want to remain married or file for divorce. Each party in a legal separation will continue to have many of the same legal rights as a married person. For example, many health insurance companies will still cover a spouse that is legally separated from the policyholder. This differs from divorce since a spouse that is divorced from a policyholder will no longer be covered.
The grounds for filing for legal separation and divorce are also different. A couple that wishes to legally separate must show the court that they can no longer tolerate living with one another, but there is a chance for reconciliation in the future. On the other hand, the grounds for filing for divorce include:
- Irretrievable breakdown of the marriage
- A felony conviction
- A diagnosis of insanity that is persisted for at least two years
It’s important to note that Indiana is a “no fault” state and that you are not expected or required to provide proof if you file because of an irretrievable breakdown of the marriage, but you will have to show evidence if you file for any other reason listed above.
The Similarities Between Legal Separation and Divorce
The process of initiating a legal separation and divorce are similar. In both situations, one spouse must file a petition with the court requesting either a separation or divorce.
Couples that file for divorce must reach an agreement that outlines how they will resolve issues related to property division, spousal support, child support, and child custody. Both parties must comply with the terms of this agreement after it has been finalized. A similar agreement is reached when a couple files for legal separation, however this agreement is only valid for the duration of the separation, which by statute may not exceed one year.
Why Do People File For Legal Separation?
Many people think of legal separation as a temporary divorce, so they don’t understand why any couple would choose to delay the inevitable. It’s true that some – maybe even most — couples move forward with a divorce after a one-year legal separation, but that’s not always the case. Couples often reassess their marriage during their separation and realize that they are not ready to call it quits. This is a great option for couples that realize their marriage is in trouble, but see the value in taking some time to reassess.
A legal separation allows them to step away from their marriage and explore what single life would be like before deciding what to do. Even if they decide to file for divorce after the legal separation, they generally will have fewer regrets since they didn’t rush into ending their marriage.
To learn more about your options, speak with an experienced divorce attorney today. Our compassionate team of attorneys will ensure that you make the right choice for your family and your future. Contact The Nice Law Firm at 317-269-7311 to schedule a consultation regarding your case.