Many people believe that if they legally separate as opposed to divorce, they save themselves time and money. In the state of Tennessee, however, the legal separation process closely parallels the divorce process. As a result, if you wish to explore your various options, you may want to consult a Chattanooga separation agreements lawyer for advice.
In a separation agreement, you address all the same issues as you would if you were entering a settlement agreement in a divorce. The only difference with a settlement agreement is that you would remain married unless you later decide to divorce. A family lawyer may be able to analyze your situation and help you make the decisions that could be most beneficial to you and your family.
When spouses begin to live separately, it is an unofficial separation. However, parties who wish to be legally separated must go through a legal process that is remarkably similar to a divorce. In a legal separation, not only are spouses living and sleeping separately, but they are subject to a binding separation agreement approved by the court.
Separation agreements govern all issues related to:
In other words, separation agreements address the same issues as the parties would address if they were getting divorced. With a legal separation, however, the parties are still legally married. As a result, if they later choose to reconcile, they must get an order of reconciliation from the judge to restore their marriage and eliminate the separation agreement.
In some cases, parties are clear that they have irreconcilable differences, and divorce is the most appropriate course of action. Nonetheless, there may be valid reasons that parties agree to legally separate rather than divorce. For instance, some people may opt for legal separation to:
Additionally, if the parties have no minor children, living apart under a separation agreement for two years or more is one of the grounds for divorce in Tennessee. As a result, after two years have passed since the parties entered a separation agreement, either or both parties can convert the legal separation to a divorce proceeding. A separation agreements lawyer in Chattanooga may be able to advise individuals where a legal separation would be beneficial to them in their situations.
Although there are valid reasons why individuals might file for legal separation rather than divorce, there also could be drawbacks to legal separation. The conduct of one spouse during a legal separation also could make an ensuring divorce far more acrimonious and combative.
Furthermore, reaching a separation agreement could be as expensive and time-consuming as a divorce. Individuals must address all the same issues as if they were getting a divorce. If the separation fails to result in reconciliation, then the parties would have the additional expenses and time involved in going through a divorce. With the help of a separation agreements attorney in Chattanooga, individuals may be able to weigh the pros and cons of each legal proceeding and choose the path that is best for them and their families.
While legal separation can be an attractive option for couples in some circumstances, it ultimately can be as lengthy and costly as a divorce. If you eventually divorce, you may experience further delays and costs to finalize the divorce. Contacting a Chattanooga separation agreements lawyer may be highly beneficial as you work to make these crucial decisions about your future.
Understanding the similarities and differences between legal separation and divorce is essential when you are having marital difficulties. By getting the legal advice that you need, you may be able to work toward the most appropriate resolution for your situation.