Q: What is the difference between a legal separation and a divorce?
While a legal separation is often a stepping-stone to a divorce, Phoenix legal separation attorneys may advise certain couples to consider a legal separation as a way to achieve their objectives, such as living apart while attempting to resolve their differences.
There are other reasons why a couple might consider legal separation over a divorce in Arizona, including:
- religious or social beliefs that prohibit divorce
- tax benefits of remaining married
- health care coverage concerns
- inability to meet Arizona’s 90-day residency requirements for divorce, and more
Just as in a divorce, it’s best if the couple can agree and compromise on the key factors like division of marital property, spousal support, and any legal decision-making and parenting time issues if minor children are involved. If they can’t agree, the court will intervene.
Differences Between Legal Separation and Divorce
Just as in a divorce, a legal separation will sever the obligations and rights between the spouses and the court will render a decree in either instance regarding the couple’s property division, alimony, and parental rights and responsibilities if applicable.
The main difference is that couples remain legally married under legal separation whereas, after a divorce, couples are free to remarry. Couples who wish to reconcile after legal separation can file a motion to vacate the legal separation order whereas divorce is permanent so reconciling former spouses would need to remarry if they had a change of heart.
While there doesn’t seem to be reliable data on the phenomenon of couples divorcing and then remarrying, just a look at the behavior of some celebrity couples tells us it’s a thing. What might bring divorced couples back together?
For many, time heals all wounds and brings wisdom, maturity, and financial stability. Couples who married young, cheated, and/or struggled financially trying to raise children often divorce under the strain after losing sight of what attracted them to each other in the first place. If they reconnect in the future—when the stresses are no longer present—that old spark may re-ignite again. Social media is often a tool for old flames to reconnect and continued co-parenting is another way that former spouses may remain connected years after they divorced.
Whether the divorce resulted from “grand betrayals” like adultery, addiction, or abuse or from the grind of life—like unplanned pregnancies, job losses, fighting over chores and finances—when the “situational reasons” for the divorce are no longer issues, couples may reconcile.
Contact Our Phoenix Legal Separation Attorney Today
If you are considering a legal separation or a divorce in Arizona, Cohen Family Law can help you. Contact us today for a free consultation.
From our office in Phoenix, we routinely handle all aspects of family law to clients throughout the state and pride ourselves in offering personal, affordable, and compassionate service to our clients since 1982.