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Should I Get a Legal Separation Instead of a Divorce?

Should I Get a Legal Separation Instead of a Divorce?

Legal separation is an alternative to divorce that allows you and your partner to live in separate spaces while maintaining your marital status. A petition for legal separation can be granted by the state of North Dakota for both no-fault and fault situations, provided that the person filing the paperwork has been a resident for at least six months. Before deciding whether or not a legal separation is the best option for you and your partner, you should become familiar with the advantages and disadvantages such separations carry.

Advantages of Legal Separation

Legal separation has several advantages over divorce:

  • Since your marital status is still intact in a legal separation, you keep the same financial benefits granted to your marriage, such as the ability to file your taxes jointly or to keep non-employed parties on a health insurance plan.

  • If a couple’s religious beliefs conflict with the concept of divorce, a legal separation enables them to be separated without violating their beliefs.

  • If you are considering filing for divorce at some point, legal separation acts as somewhat of a “trial period” before you make that decision.

  • Should reconciliation be an option for you and your partner as time passes, a separation is much more easily undone.

Disadvantages of Legal Separation

There are some disadvantages to legal separation that push some couples to divorce:

  • The IRS will only allow you to deduct any alimony payments if you are not of the same household.

  • If you ultimately want to remarry, legal separation keeps your marriage intact, preventing you from making that choice.

  • The proceedings of legal separation and divorce are the same as it relates to property division, child support, and visitation rights, meaning the emotional toll is very similar to that of divorce proceedings.

Seek Professional Guidance

No matter your decision on legal separation or divorce, you will be making complex decisions regarding factors such as children, housing, and debt. You will need professional guidance from a Circling Eagle Law expert to help you make the best choices before you sign your separation agreement.

Contact our Fargo divorce lawyers today at (701) 401-7404.


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