An Experienced Lawyer You Can Count On

What is the difference between divorce and legal separation?

On Behalf of | Jun 2, 2024 | Family Law |

If you and your spouse have been struggling in your marriage, going your separate ways may be the best option for you. Indiana couples may choose between divorce and legal separation.

Divorce v. legal separation

If you decide to file for divorce, you are essentially saying that you no longer want to be married to your spouse. When you file for divorce, you must address issues such as property division, spousal support, and child custody and support. Once these issues have been addressed, your divorce will be finalized, and your marriage will be legally dissolved. However, keep in mind that in Indiana, you must have been separated for a minimum of 60 days before your divorce will be finalized.

However, if your marital problems are serious, but you are not ready to officially end your marriage, a legal separation may be your best option. To file for legal separation under Indiana law, you must meet residency requirements as well as the following requirements:

  • Circumstances of marriage make it currently intolerable for both parties to live together.
  • Marriage should be maintained.

Also, much like a divorce, you will be able to address spousal support and child custody/support issues in a legal separation.

Once your legal separation has been granted, it will be in effect for one year. After the year is over, you will have the option to file for divorce. If you do not file for divorce, you will automatically go back to being legally married.

If you are sure that you want to end your marriage, you can save time and money by filing for a divorce right away. However, if you think some time apart would help you save your marriage, a legal separation may be the way to go.