What Are Other Alternatives To Getting a Divorce With Your Spouse? Getting a divorce is always an emotionally and financially hard decision. For many, it can even mean losing the respect and support of their families and close friends. So when your marriage starts falling apart – and the divorce option isn’t quite an option – any alternative to divorce may seem like worth trying.
Luckily, there are two ways how couples can get out of their hateful marriages without going through a divorce grinder. Both of them mean that spouses will be separated. However, only one of them includes interaction with Georgia legal system and can be officially obtained. Further in this article, you’ll find a detailed explanation of both of these types.
Marriage counselors insist that a short period far from each other can have a therapeutic effect on the relationships. It gives time to miss your partner, reconsider your own values, and understand what you really want and need from your spouse. For some, however, it may be an excellent opportunity to take a pause from their tiresome marriage and figure out what to do next.
If you’re looking for a piece-of-cake alternative to divorce, this is it. Unofficial separation doesn’t require any financial or time investments, any interaction with the Georgia court system, or any significant changes in your routine. All you have to do is to pack your things and move out for a while or ask your partner to do the same.
An unofficial separation without divorce can be a way out for two mature people without minor kids who have nothing to divide and don’t need any spousal support. It allows you to take a break from marital obligations but continue using other benefits a marriage offers, such as a mortgage plan, healthcare and social security benefits, as well as upholding your religious beliefs.
At the same time, it can hardly work out for spouses who have children, many marital assets, or fail to reach an agreement. Although separated, you are staying married for the court. Therefore, any conflicts and disagreements that may occur during your unofficial separation will be deemed as those of a married couple. Even if you verbally agreed to split some property, the court will still consider it a joint marital asset, unless you prove otherwise.
Therefore, if you’re seeking safer options other than divorce, Georgia offers legal separation. Officially called separate maintenance action, it’s a legal way to end all marital responsibilities without actually ending the marriage. As much as unofficial separation, it allows using some of the benefits of marriage even after you break up. At the same time, there is a legal procedure to obtain a court’s decision of legal separation. Therefore, paying some fees and taking time to submit the papers may be required.
Benefits of Legal Separation
As an alternative to divorce, legal separation has its advantages and disadvantages.
One of the most obvious benefits of being legally separated is a chance to save your marriage. A bad marriage doesn’t always mean that partners don’t love each other anymore. Sometimes, they only want space and time alone. A few months on their own can appear to be quite therapeutic. In the case with divorce, however, you would have to go through the entire marriage procedure once again if you happen to reconsider your choice and decide to stay together.
Also, there is no deadline for legal separation. You can be separated as long as you need – even if it’s forever. As it is, it may be a safe way out for couples who can’t get divorced due to religious or some other beliefs. Technically, you get all the benefits of divorce. But if the law says you’re still married, then you don’t go against your traditions.
Unlike divorce, legal separation allows using marital perks even after you terminate your responsibilities as a couple. They include health insurance, tax benefits, mortgage plan, and some military benefits.
On the other hand, legal separation is a safer option in terms of your rights and obligations compared to unofficial separation. To file for separate maintenance action, spouses will have to sign an agreement, which covers all important issues of their new family status. It would include a new parental plan, distribution of assets, spousal support, and other matters that must be solved. A court’s decision will be legally binding for both parties.
Furthermore, legal separation can be a less expensive and faster choice compared to some divorce cases. You’ll still have to pay some fees but they still won’t be as high as paying full-time to a divorce lawyer.
The Downsides of Legal Separation
However, despite so many benefits, legal separation can’t be considered a flawless option. The procedure of getting legally separated is quite similar to that of a divorce. You need to complete a petition, make up an agreement, and submit these papers to the court. While it may sound as easy as pie, in fact, many hidden pitfalls may arise in the process. The papers must be notarized, another party served, and the package of documents delivered in person to the clerk’s office. Errors, conflicts, and an act of God may delay the process anytime.
Furthermore, spouses may appear to be less prepared for legal separation than they thought they would be. Conflicts and disagreements will only add up to its cost and duration. Finally, legal separation isn’t a guarantee of a fast and easy divorce in the future. You’ll need to start over again if you decide to officially end it.
If you want to save your marriage but make it official, a legal separation may be an option. But some cases may significantly exceed the cost of uncontested divorce in Georgia and have a highly contested nature. Plus if it comes to divorce, the procedure won’t be any faster. If you’re not considering divorce right now, perhaps it would be more beneficial to test your relationship in an unofficial separation.
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What Are Other Alternatives To Getting a Divorce With Your Spouse?
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