A separation is when a married couple chooses to live separate lives but not formally end the marriage. Married couples in Georgia can separate by requesting a “separate maintenance agreement” order from the court. However, if one spouse wants to divorce, a divorce will occur. A separation can only occur if both spouses agree that a separation is best and that divorce is not an option at that time for whatever reason.
There are a variety of reasons for choosing separation over divorce. A couple may choose not to legally end their marriage due to:
Although the separation is agreed upon by the parties, the terms of the separation do not necessarily have to be agreed upon. The court can still consider requests for child and spousal support just as it would during a divorce. Similar to divorce, the process is most efficient when both parties agree on issues such as alimony, child support, visitation and property division. In that case, the judge is likely to sign the agreement presented if it seems fair to both parties. When spouses do not agree on issues, the separation may go to trial, similar to divorce proceedings.
Ultimately, couples who are happy with the separation agreement and later opt for divorce can use the separation agreement as a template for the divorce.
Essentially, a legal separation is a court-approved contract between spouses that outlines how marital responsibilities will be divided. The agreement can address issues including:
Candace M. Williams, P.C. helps you negotiate a fair separation agreement.
While separation and divorce are similar in some ways, the marriage is not ended in a legal separation. For some couples, this is the best option for their situation. Reasons to choose a separation over a complete dissolution of a marriage include:
Choosing between a legal separation and a divorce can be a difficult decision. I help my clients make the right choices for their individual circumstances.
To learn more about alternatives to divorce in Georgia, call Candace M. Williams, P.C. at 470-691-0189 or contact me online today to schedule a consultation.