Any adult of a certain age knows break ups are never ever easy. And they only get harder the older you get and the longer your relationships last. But when you are married, it becomes that much harder, more complicated, and a lot more permanent when you decide it’s time to call it quits. But not every breakup of a marriage has to lead ultimately to divorce.

There is more than one option out there to save your marriage, starting with legal separation

You’ve probably seen dozens of celebrities out there say once or twice that them and their spouse are taking some time away from each other. This, often, means legal separation, rather than a divorce. It’s an option not many people know about and even less explore before feeling the only way out is divorce.

Divorce and legal separation are very similar, where the law is concerned. But they also have very important differences that can help you decide which is right for you.

Religious Restrictions

Sometimes, divorce is not an option because one or both spouse’s religion and/or culture forbids divorce. However, you still need to legally separate from your spouse for one reason or another. Separation puts a legal gap between the two of you, but, in the eyes of the law, you are still married, without the stigma of a divorce. Separation keeps you both tethered to each other, legally, though you may live completely separate lives.

Separation to Divorce

Many states require a period of legal separation before a divorce can be sought. Under these laws, a separation becomes a divorce after a certain period of time. For others, however, separation is a voluntary step towards a divorce to allow time for both parties to work out financials or childcare before a divorce becomes final.

Trial Separations

If you’re having trouble but you’re not ready to call it quits yet, you can opt for a trial separation. This allows you to live separately for a period, though it makes some property and assets a little dicey, depending on where you live, and if one or both spouses intend to return to the marriage at the end of the separation. But it is an option for those thinking they may be on the brink of a divorce.

Related Questions

How Are Property Rights Affected?

Legal separation preserves your right to property between the two of you and, in the event of one spouse’s death during separation, all property will go to the surviving spouse. Under divorce, these rights are abolished and only a will can allocate property to the surviving ex-partner.

Can I Marry Other People?

In a divorce? Yes. However, under legal separation you are still married, even if you have not had contact in years. If you wish to remarry, you must get a divorce from your current spouse.

Talk to an experienced Divorce and Family Law attorney about your options before jumping to decisions. Options are out there.

If you are not sure you want to end your marriage, legal separation is an option. Use the time apart to decide whether the marriage is worth saving. Choosing to separate before divorce allows both parties to partake in all the benefits of divorce, while still maintaining your marriage and figuring out what’s best for your family.

Taking the First Step

It is a tough decision and you may not know where to begin. If you live in Michigan and are contemplating a divorce or legal separation the Family Law Offices of Rappleye & Rappleye can help. Settling divorce and family law conflicts for over 60 years we have the knowledge and experience to help guide you through your journey. We handle child custody, property division, visitation, child support and more. Call us for a consultation and get started on a new beginning for you and your family!