Legal Separation or Divorce?

Many couples live apart before seeking an official divorce. In Oregon, these couples can file for legal separation – a motion that allows them to remain married while pursing separate lives. Divorce and legal separation may seem like the same thing, but they come with certain benefits and drawbacks.

“Why should I consider legal separation instead of divorce?”

Most couples choose legal separation for financial reasons. The primary difference between dissolution of marriage and legal separation is the latter allows the couples to remain legally married. If the couple is still married, they can share insurance benefits, healthcare benefits, social security, and avoid some of the financial difficulties associated with divorce.

Child support and alimony considerations:

If you and your spouse are considering a separation but don’t want a divorce, you might be tempted to avoid the legal process of officially filing for a legal separation. However, an unofficial separation doesn’t address issues like spousal support and child support.

Legal separation is a viable option for couples who want to be apart but remain married, while solidifying child support agreements, etc. Without legal separation, these matters are not enforceable in court.

Do we qualify for legal separation?

The grounds for legal separation are similar to the grounds for divorce. In Oregon, couples can seek a legal separation or divorce under the state’s “No Fault Divorce” law.

This means that a husband and wife can choose to end their marriage or legally separate without proving wrongdoing by one or both spouses. Instead, you must simply show that you and your spouse have “irreconcilable differences.”

Choosing the Best Option

Considering divorce? Get in touch with the Oregon family law attorneys at McKinley Irvin to determine whether legal separation is the best path for you and your family. Our skilled attorneys can review your circumstances and help you understand the financial implications of both options. We invite you to call our office to schedule a consultation.

Categories: Divorce, Estate Planning