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Thinking of separating? You may want to do it legally

Usually, when a couple is thinking of separating/divorce, they separate in order to decide if they want to go through with a permanent split or attempt a reconciliation. However, if you and your husband do not want to permanently divorce but need to separate, a court approved separation might be your best option.

When the court grants a legal separation, it defines legally enforceable rights and obligations. However, it does not permanently end your marriage. An experienced attorney in the Gaithersburg area can help you decide if legal separation is right for you. Whether you opt for legal separation or divorce, it is important to know all of your options.

Choosing legal separation

Since you and your husband are not sure you want to divorce, but you want to live separately, a legal separation may be appealing. Through a legal separation order, the court will clearly define matters such as child support and custody as well as property division. In general, you will go through a process similar to divorce but without permanently ending your marriage. This is a viable option for couples that do not wish to divorce due to financial benefits or religious beliefs.

Grounds for Separation

Usually, the grounds for a legal separation are similar, if not the same, as grounds for divorce. The reasons include incompatibility, abandonment, adultery and cruelty. This is similar to a divorce, only the court can approve modifications to obligations stipulated in a separation agreement, such as child custody and support.


While a legal separation works much like a divorce, you and your spouse will remain married. This makes it easier if you decide to reconcile. Unlike a divorced couple, you will not have to remarry. You will simply have to file a request with the court to resume your marriage. However, if you and your husband decide to permanently end your marriage, the divorce process is much easier with a legal separation already in place.

Other types of separation

Some couples separate in order to take time apart and work toward reconciliation. They do not have the intention to end their marriage. When this happens, their rights and obligations as a married couple stay intact. Property division and child support are usually agreed to informally, whereas in a divorce or legal separation there is a court order in place that addresses these issues.

If you and your husband are considering separating and divorce, you may consider a separation agreement.

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