The decision to end your marriage is not an easy one. Even if you know you want out, you may be hesitant to get a divorce. Perhaps you and your spouse have already moved on, living separate lives but legally still married.
Although that is a common choice, it is not a secure one. A legal separation, on the other hand, allows you two to live apart while guaranteeing you the safety that comes with a legal agreement. However, it involves the same aspects of divorce, such as arranging a parenting schedule and dividing marital property. Which, then, should you get: a legal separation or a divorce?
When you should get a legal separation
A legal separation may be the better option if you are trying to heal your marriage but cannot do so while living together. This way, you have both your space and protection, but you can always end the separation when you are ready. If the relationship does not work out, divorce is much quicker, because you have already come up with the terms.
Another reason to get a separation is to maintain certain perks of marriage, such as insurance benefits and tax breaks. This is more common among older adults who are less likely to remarry. Religious or personal views may also be a factor in not divorcing.
If you have not lived in California long enough yet, you will have to get a legal separation first. Once you have met the California residency requirement, then you can file for divorce.
When you should get a divorce
Divorce is likely the better option in the following situations:
- Reconciliation is not possible
- There is no financial advantage to remaining married
- The relationship is dangerous to you and/or your children
- No religious or personal beliefs prevent you from divorcing
- You both agree you want to end the marriage
- You want to be able to remarry
Even if your spouse wants to stay together but you do not, you can still get a divorce. It will likely be longer and more unpleasant due to your current spouse's lack of cooperation.