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Divorce vs Legal Separation: A Comparative Overview

Everyone experiences issues with their marriage at one point or another. However, when our marital challenges become too overwhelming, it’s important to take a breath and consider our options. The two main paths that most couples will explore are a legal separation or divorce. These terms are often thrown around during difficult times and sometimes they’re even used interchangeably. However, despite legal separations and divorce having similar elements, they’re actually quite different. Whichever path you and your spouse choose, it’s essential to find the best divorce lawyers in San Antonio, TX, to help you through the process. In order to help you understand the difference between these two paths, here’s a quick comparative guide explaining the legal and emotional effects of a legal separation versus a divorce.

Legal Separation

When a married couple is experiencing a lot of challenges, they might need to take some time to breathe and figure out what’s going on. Legal separations are often beneficial for those who need a break but aren’t ready to formally end the marriage. A legal separation doesn’t completely dissolve the marriage. This element is usually what makes legal separations so desirable for those who are not ready for a permanent change. In a way, you’re just putting the marriage on pause. Legally, you’re not allowed to remarry or sell off a joint property. When you have a legal separation, you’re still eligible to receive benefits from your spouse, such as Social Security. Legal separations are often recommended to those who aren’t completely sure that they’re ready for a divorce. Legal separations are also helpful if children are involved — the courts can even help negotiate co-parenting plans. Legal separations are sometimes seen as easier for children as well. A legal separation might help children adjust to the idea of divorce if that path turns out to be necessary.


When a couple is completely sure that they’re ready to permanently separate, a divorce is more effective in these instances. There’s no reason to drag out the marriage if there’s no chance of a reconciliation. When you file for a divorce, you’re stating that you’re ready to dissolve the marriage and legally detach yourself from this other person. Family courts will normally push for amicable separations where the divorcing couple can agree to the terms of the divorce, alimony, or child custody. In extreme cases where they cannot agree to these terms and conditions, the courts will have to decide for them. However, it’s strongly recommended to go through mediation and settle outside of court. If you’re contemplating a legal separation or divorce, it’s important to schedule a divorce lawyer consultation in San Antonio TX. The legal experts at the Law Offices of Steven C. Benke can help you decide which path is right for you. Give them a call today!

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