Putting an end to a marriage is hard. If you and your partner can’t quite decide if divorce is the right choice for you, then a legal separation might be a good idea. It’s a tool that allows couples to live apart and take a break. Their legal rights are still protected. The separation provides them with an opportunity to think about their choices. Is this what they want, or do they want to fix their relationship and try again? Knowing the difference between separation and divorce will help you prepare for this process.
A legal separation gives couples a break from each other. In some cases, that break helps them discover what they want. As a result, they can get back together or end up getting a divorce. During a legal separation, though, the couple is still married. That’s why they still retain their married legal status and other rights. For instance, if they are each other’s dependents, they can still get treated and have their spouse’s healthcare insurance cover them. Legal separation is also called separate maintenance or judicial separation. There are also terms such as divorce from bed-and-board and divorce a mensa et thoro. These terms all mean the same thing: they refer to the state of separation as you and your partner formalize the arrangement while still retaining your rights and status as a married couple.
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Separation: What Kind?
To separate, one of you will move out of the home. That way, you’ll stop living together. You can still stay under the same roof but decide to start living different lives. If you and your partner agree to live while being separated under one roof, you will need to prove that to agencies like Centrelink. They will consider the following:
- If you still sleep together
- If you have sex or engage in any sexual activity
- If you share meals or domestic duties in a way that’s different from when you were married
- If you still share money and bank accounts
- If your friends and family think you are separated or not
No single factor is conclusive enough, though, that’s why all these are considered.
How to Get Started?
There are no legal processes. You don’t have to apply to a government organization or fill in any forms and send them to court. You won’t get a certificate that states that you are now separated. However, you need to inform the Child Support Agency, Medicare, and Centrelink. You’ll also need to sort out an arrangement for your kids, tell your family and friends, and work out issues linked to your assets and financial affairs. You’ll need to get a lawyer. Also, if you believe the legal separation will end up in divorce, you should start looking for divorce lawyers in Adelaide even before the legal separation begins. That means you might want to look for lawyers who can assist you through the separation and divorce, so you won’t have to go through the trouble of hiring a different lawyer.
How to Pick a Lawyer
There are plenty of divorce lawyers in Adelaide. But they might not all be the right option for you. Find someone who can guide you through the process, provide you with all the information you need, and explain the steps and developments of the case with ease. If your lawyer ignores your concerns or dismisses them, that’s not a good sign. Also, if you aren’t comfortable enough with your lawyer so that you’re concealing things or lying, that won’t help with your case either. Think of it as a partnership. You need someone who’s going to be on your side, represent you in court, and make sure you won’t get taken advantage of by your partner. That means you need someone with years of experience, someone who has had success in winning cases for clients and still has the compassion to help you through the process.
What to Ask?
If you and your partner decide on a legal separation, it’s an opportunity to figure out what both sides want. If there’s a lot of fighting or disagreements, then a cooling-off period is a good idea. If you decide to reconcile after that period, then things are good. If it leads to divorce, then talking to your lawyer will help you prepare for what’s ahead. The right legal counsel can help you through the process, provide information and case updates and help you go through the mountain of paperwork involved, so you can fill in any form and meet deadlines or requirements.