Is there a benefit to getting legally separated prior to getting a divorce/dissolution in Ohio?
While sharing many similarities, there are drastic differences between legal separation and divorce. The major difference between the two is that divorce puts an end to marriage; legal separation does not. Legal separation allows two individuals to live separately but legally remain married. Legal separation allows couples to address issues such as child custody, visitation rights, and spousal support along with how debts and assets should be divided. All of this is done while still maintaining a legally married status.
For couples who are considering divorce, legal separation may be a beneficial precursor to divorce. Legal separation allows married individuals contemplating divorce to protect their financial assets while they are deciding whether or not they are going to go through with the divorce. Additionally, legal separation provides a mechanism whereby a couple considering divorce can legally make an agreement as to how they will interact with each other, how they will interact with their financial responsibilities, and how they will interact with their children. If in the future the choice is to divorce, a court will look at the agreements made during legal separation as a precedent for how the divorce proceedings should go.
Legal separation allows individuals to spend time apart. This time apart may be just the thing that a married couple needs in order to resolve conflict. This time apart will also give them the ability to think clearly and decide whether or not divorce is something that they want to do. They are able to make this decision while at the same time knowing that their financial assets are protected.
Legal separation has the benefit of allowing both parties to keep whatever medical benefits they have while they are deciding whether or not to divorce. Usually, these medical benefits and Social Security benefits would come to an end when the two parties decide to divorce.
For many individuals, divorce goes against their religious beliefs. Therefore, legally separating prior to a divorce gives individuals with this religious inclination time to weigh all the factors and decide if they want to divorce without having the stigma attached that comes from being divorced.
There may be situations where individuals are considering a divorce, but still care about the well-being of their spouse. They may want to remain legally married for 10 years so that their spouse can take advantage of certain military or Social Security benefits. If this is the case, a couple may legally separate until these 10 years have elapsed and then continue with divorce proceedings.