It’s understandable to get overwhelmed at the thought of a divorce. It’s a life-changing event that requires an attorney, time, and finances. Many people consider pursuing a legal separation instead of a divorce, but it may not be the best decision in the long run. Allow us to explain:
1. Legal separation is not formally recognized by Georgia Law.
A legal separation occurs when a married couple chooses not to engage in marital activities such as sexual relations and living together. This is a personal decision and not one that a Georgia court would order or grant. However, a divorce is court-ordered and recognized by Georgia law, and should be pursued if ending the marriage is the ultimate goal.
2. Separation maintenance must be requested via the court.
Although a legal separation is not formally recognized by Georgia Law, the parties can request separation maintenance via the court. Separation maintenance resolves any marital issues such as spousal support, child custody, child support, finances, and other marital-related factors. To pursue separation maintenance, three factors must be present according to O.C.G.A. 19-6-10:
- A marriage must exist between the two parties;
- The parties must be living separately;
- There is no pending action for divorce.
3. You cannot remarry if you are legally separated.
Some people find the benefits of a legal separation are desirable such as earning tax breaks, staying on the same insurance plan, or adhering to religious beliefs. But, it’s important to know that if you are legally separated, the marriage is still intact which does not allow either party to remarry. If you know that in the future you want to remarry, it’d save time and money to pursue a divorce initially instead of a legal separation.
4. A legal separation requires time, money, and an attorney.
To do a legal separation right, you will need guidance from a family law attorney. Because there is a lot at stake when pursuing separation maintenance or a separation agreement, it’s important not to rely solely on information from the internet, especially if your spouse has an attorney.