Why Do Some People Choose Separation Instead of Divorce?

Published: 04th April 2008
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The decision to divorce is never an easy one. Not many people know whether or not they actually want to divorce. Opting for a separation instead of divorce helps people become clearer about their decision to divorce.

If, during the separation period, the couple decides to divorce, they can do so by fulfilling all the legal formalities. However, if the couple decides not to divorce, they can start living as husband and wife because separation does not dissolve the marital status as divorce does.

When people are clear in their minds that they want to separate from their partner but do not wish to remarry, they opt for separation. In such situations, it is best to opt for a separation because the bitterness and anger associated with a divorce can be minimised to a large extent.

If you have children, it makes even more sense to opt for separation if you do not wish to remarry because parental decisions become easier as the level of pain and hurt in a separation is lower than divorce. Divorce can be a time-consuming and costly process. Not many people want to invest that much time and energy into the divorce process. Therefore, they opt for a separation.

What is a Separation Agreement?

A separation agreement is an explicit written agreement that couples need to enter into when they think of beginning to stay physically separately from each other without getting divorced. Living separately from your partner is a major decision of your life and it should not be taken lightly.

Even though separation agreements can be reversed so that the couples can start staying together as husband and wife if they choose to after sometime, they are extremely important because they clearly specify the financial and child custody arrangements upon separation.

At a later point in time, even if the couple opts for a divorce, a separation agreement helps to build a better understanding between the couple about the important issues. Important points in a separation agreement may include but are not limited to financial arrangements, civil behaviour of one partner towards another, child custody arrangements, and child support.

Pros and Cons of Going for Separation Agreement

Separation agreement is an amicable way of parting ways with your partner. Divorce brings with it a lot of bitterness and pain. Most people do not know how to deal with this pain and simultaneously deal with the legal issues that a divorce entails. Separation is usually less bitter than divorce. Therefore, partners can make a judicious decision about their finances and custody while making separation agreements.

Separation agreements do not allow the separating partners to remarry because the marital status of the partners is not dissolved. For that reason, complications regarding dealing with the "other" man or woman in your ex-spouse's life do not come into picture. This helps to keep things simple and somehow lessens the pain of separation. In addition, no doubt remains in either partner's mind about even the possibility of another person in the marriage.

Separation agreements can cost as less as £50 whereas the consultation fee of an attorney itself can cost an upward of £700. While most people do not want to waste that much money on a divorce, there are others who do not even have that much money. For such people, separation agreements are an ideal alternative to divorce.

The biggest drawback of separation agreement is that it is not legally binding. Therefore, you will have to go through the entire process of covering all the issues all over again if you decide to divorce. After your separation, if you meet someone whom you want to marry, you will have to go through the divorce process because merely formulating a separation agreement does not allow you to remarry.

Are People Aware of Separation Agreements? How Can People Become More Aware of Them?

Generally speaking, not many people are aware that formulating separation agreement is also an option for them. When most couples think of parting ways, they only think of a formal legalised divorce procedure. Even when they think of living separately, they do not know if they need to create a formal agreement around it.

People need to educate themselves on this subject and they can become more aware of separation agreements if more and more law offices and legal websites carry more information on the same. That way, even if people do not opt for a divorce, they can opt for separation agreements and the separation process can be more formalised.

James Walsh is a freelance writer and copy editor. If you would like more information on how to get a quickie Divorce see http://www.quickie-divorce.com

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