When a marriage is irretrievably broken, spouses will have a few different legal options, including legal separation or divorce. Although both of these options can involve the same issues – like the division of property, child custody and child support, there are some distinct differences between legal separation and divorce, and understanding what these are can be the key to figuring out what the right choice is for you.
The Differences between Legal Separation & Divorce
The primary distinction between legal separation versus divorce is that divorce officially ends a marriage while legal separation does not. Consequently, unlike divorce, legal separation can allow partners to:
- Retain the ability to file joint income tax returns
- Maintain inheritance rights
- Retain certain benefits (like Social Security benefits) and/or claims to pensions
- Avoid violating their religious beliefs that prohibit divorce
- Try living separately (both financially and possibly physically) as they decide whether they want to work on the marriage or move forward with divorce
- Potentially retain insurance coverage (depending on the provider and policy).
Considering Legal Separation? Here’s What Else You Need to Know
- Legal separations can be reversed – So, if legally separated couples reconcile and want to give their marriage another shot, they can petition the court to terminate the legal separation.
- They can also be converted into divorces – And in these cases, the divorce can be fairly straightforward (because all of the financial and/or custody issues were resolved via the legal separation).
- Having an attorney’s representation in legal separation and divorce is crucial – Regardless of how friendly you and your ex’s split seems to be so far, things can get heated quickly when issues pertaining to money, time with children and support payments come up. An attorney can facilitate favorable resolutions, looking out for your rights and helping you avoid any potentially costly mistakes along the way.
Contact a Portland Family Law Attorney at Helzar & Cromar, LLP
If you are ready to end your marriage and you need some professional advice regarding your best options for proceeding, you can turn to a Portland family law attorney at Helzar & Cromar, LLP for aggressive, compassionate representation moving forward. Bringing decades family law experience to every case, our lawyers are focused on:
- Fully understanding our clients’ needs while providing them with personal attention and respect
- Protecting our clients’ rights while we advance their interests
- Working diligently to bring every case to the best possible resolution.
To find out more about our services and how we can help you, call us at (503) 626-2889 or send us an email via the contact form on this page. The attorneys at Helzar & Cromar provide the highest quality legal services to clients in Portland and Beaverton, as well as throughout the state of Oregon.