Separation and Spousal Support: What Are Your Rights?

Did you know that in Georgia there were over 10,000 divorces in 2020 alone? Divorce is becoming more common for couples in today’s world, but that doesn’t make the process easy. Often, when a couple recognizes that the marriage needs to end, both parties may file for divorce.

There are also other options like a legal separation that allows married couples to separate without fully divorcing each other. There are pros and cons to each decision and you should be fully aware of your options before finally deciding. Keep reading for everything you need to know about spousal support.

What is Legal Separation?

Legal separation is an alternative to divorce which is carried out by filing a petition in family court, though not all states offer these services. Separation is very similar to divorce, but both parties are still technically married and cannot marry another person. Participants must follow specific terms about the rights and responsibilities, like how property will be divided up, and children’s support.

Every party has the right to ask the judge and court to help settle an agreement if needed on certain issues. These orders will oftentimes be addressed if one party is entitled to spousal support to another. Because the couple is still legally married, financial support is not called alimony but rather separate maintenance.

Who Is Eligible For Spousal Support?

Those who may be able to receive support usually are those who are ending a long-term marriage. Here are some of the factors that may weigh into the decision-making:

  • Length of marriage
  • Contributions to the marriage
  • Financial calculations
  • Spouse age, health conditions, and earning
  • Both party’s financial situation and debts

How Long Does Spousal Support Last?

Each specific case varies, however, the duration of the support payments varies. It can also depend on how long it may take the person receiving the payments to develop a stream of income. On the other end, if the person paying experiences financial hardship or the other party’s situation has improved the details can be modified at any time.

Pros of Legal Separation

There are numerous different reasons that people opt for legal separation over divorce. A lot of individuals choose to stay married for tax purposes and the benefits that come with it. Many people are against divorce for moral or religious reasons, however, one of the most common reasons to choose this is because parents want to attempt to keep the family together for their children’s sake.

Some people also want this option because it may come with benefits to staying married. For example, when couples get divorced health insurance clauses can drop coverage for a spouse causing benefits to cease. You should be sure to review the terms of shared benefits carefully prior to legally separating.

On top of this, if a couple legally separates they can lose claims on income, debts, and property that may go to the other party on the separation date. You can also lose things like decision-making rights and financial decisions on your partner’s behalf. One of the biggest reasons people choose separation is they might think that their marriage can be resolved or worked through.

Cons of Legal Separation

You might decide that divorce is the right option for you especially if you are hoping to remarry. If you are looking to get out of your current situation and cut all ties with your significant other, you may want to completely sever your legal relationship and all connections. If you hope to receive some of your spouse’s assets legal separation typically does not entitle this.

Hire a Separation Lawyer

When navigating these tricky life situations every individual has a right to hire a lawyer in order to make sure that their assets are protected. These professionals can help you handle the process and act as a buffer to enable mediation and achieve a shared outcome that benefits you. Even when it seems impossible, agencies like The Hobson Law Firm can help you present a convincing case in family court.

The Cost of Legal Separation

If you can agree on all of your issues and mediate with your spouse, sometimes you won’t need to hire an attorney, though it will make things easier. The costs for legal separation can be comparable to divorce. Regardless, all courts charge fees that typically range from 150 to 400 dollars in order to file for legal separation.

If you can’t afford these fees, you can ask the court if they have some sort of assistance. Sometimes there are fees that can be waived or programs that will allow you to form a payment plan based on financial need.

Learn More About Your Options For Spousal Support

When weighing your choices for divorce or legal separation, you need to assess every option to make sure that you start yourself off on the right foot. No court will force you to get a lawyer if you and your partner can agree on the separation agreement, though you should consider consulting an attorney on a limited basis for security. This can help you get your paperwork together and will help you in your best interests especially if the other party has already hired help.

Hiring a mediator will help you keep things amicable, and help you save your money faster. Schedule a consultation today with Hobson & Hobson to know what the next steps are in your plan and get help with spousal support. You will feel relieved that professionals are on your side.

Ready to Get Started?

We can help. We can guide you through the consultation process starting with a scheduled call back from a member of our law firm intake team. If you would prefer to speak directly and confidently with a divorce lawyer a paid hour consultation is also available. To arrange a meeting, contact us today.