Couples enter marriage optimistic that it will last a lifetime. They vow to work things out, remaining hopeful that their relationship can endure through severe struggles. However, when disputes seem beyond repair, but spouses still cling to the possibility of reconciliation, things can quickly become complex.
In Vermont, legal separation is an option for couples who want to live apart while remaining legally married. Since it does not terminate the marriage, neither party can remarry. Although it may sound straightforward, making mistakes during the process can result in complications.
Consider legal help for these issues
There are a few specific steps in a separation case that mirror how a divorce works, but there are important differences. Because of these differences, it is important to seek legal help. A lawyer can help with the following:
- Drafting a separation agreement: Outlines how spouses want to negotiate various issues, such as child support, parental rights and responsibilities, and division of assets and liabilities
- Preserving benefits: Weighs whether proceeding with a divorce is worth losing significant conveniences, such as health insurance policies and tax credits
- Upholding the child’s best interests: Encourages decisions that protect a safe and nurturing environment for the child’s welfare and development
After discussing these considerations with a legal representative, couples may discover that legal separation is not for them. If they develop amicable resolutions to their conflicts, their marriage could survive. On the other hand, they may agree that they are ready to end the marriage for good and file for divorce.
Consider a guided “dry run” before a final decision
With legal supervision, testing the impact of having separate households can help provide you with a preview of what life will be like if you stay separated or pursue a divorce. Doing so can also help prepare you for potential outcomes across different aspects your lives, such as financial stability, emotional readiness and parental commitment.