Hartley Law Office, LLC

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Not ready to divorce? Legal separation may be an option

Divorce is a complicated process, and many Ohio couples find themselves hesitant to take this step. If you do not want to continue with your current living arrangement, yet find that divorce is not currently an option for many reasons, you may find that a legal separation agreement is the appropriate choice for you and your spouse. 

There are many reasons why a couple may not be ready to move forward with divorce, but simply living apart is not necessarily the best choice. With a legal separation agreement, you can effectively address issues related to spousal support, child custody and even property division, all while technically keeping the marriage legally intact.

What should we include in our agreement?

Like a divorce order, a legal separation agreement will address certain important matters. The terminology may differ in a legal separation agreement, but you and your spouse retain the right to custom tailor this agreement to suit your needs. You may need to include specific directions for the following factors in your separation agreement:

  • Child custody
  • Visitation schedules
  • Property division
  • Payment of marital debt
  • Separation maintenance (similar to spousal support)

After a period of legal separation, you may decide to go ahead and move forward with a formal divorce. Depending on the terms of the separation agreement, this arrangement may work as the foundation of a workable and practical divorce order.

Living separate lives?

Simply moving into two different residences is certainly an option for a couple that intends to divorce, but in the interim, complications and disputes can arise. A formal agreement can help alleviate unnecessary conflicts during an already difficult time. Similarly, a couple may choose to have a trial separation to decide if they want to formally separate or divorce.

No matter what type of separation you decide is best, living separate lives can be complicated. Whatever your choice may be, you will find it beneficial to make the effort to ensure the full protection of your rights and security of your interests during this time.

Protecting your best interests

It is always difficult to make the choice to separate or divorce. While this can be a complicated process, you may find that having certain legal protections in place can provide you with peace of mind and security. You may seek a complete case evaluation with an experienced lawyer in order to determine if you need a legal separation agreement if you are not planning to immediately divorce.

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