Legal Separation vs. Divorce: What is the Difference?

Legal Separation vs. Divorce: What is the Difference?

When couples are going through a divorce, they might not know the correct path to take. There are several terms that can be used during the divorce process. For instance, many attorneys will use the term “legal separation”. Some couples might think that this is just a fancy word for divorce. It is not. A legal separation and a divorce are two different processes. While they have some similarities, there are more differences between legal separation and divorce.

What is Legal Separation?

Legal separation is a court order that lays out the rights of the couple while they are separated. In this process the couple is living apart, but they are still married. In a divorce the couple is no longer married. Legal separations are not very common but they can be useful. Couples can opt to legally separate while they are going through any issues that might be affecting the marriage.

Similarities to Divorce

There are not many similarities to divorce but there are a few major areas that are the same in both processes. These include child custody and alimony payments, visitation rights, and property distribution. Handling all of these areas properly is important in both legal separation and divorce. When couples separate for any reason, even if it is temporary, they still have to make sure their children and any assets are taken care of during the separation. Working with attorneys and the courts for separation will ensure that division of custody and property is taken care of in the best way possible.

Differences Between the Two

There are many more differences between legal separation and divorce. The first being healthcare and other benefits. Healthcare when legally separated can still be kept by the couple. This is because the couple is still married. By not divorcing, if one spouse has a medical emergency while separated they have access to the same care that they had before. When divorced, each spouse would be responsible for finding their own forms of healthcare.

The next thing that is – obviously – different is marital status. When couples are legally separated they are still married. When they get divorced, the marriage is over. Another factor that is different is decision-making. When couples are married, then each spouse is usually the prime decision-maker for the other in the event of a medical problem. After divorcing, each spouse will need to find someone else to be their decision maker.

Debt is also affected in both processes. In legal separation the debt still remains for both parties. Since the couple is still married, the are still responsible for paying back loans together. When they divorce, the debt is divided between the two according to who can more easily repay. Finally, couples can more easily reconcile with each other in legal separation. Since the courts have not undone the marriage then couples have every opportunity to get back together. When a divorce is final, couples are officially single. There is no option to end the separation and return to the marriage. The only solution would be to remarry each other.

Seeking Help for Your Divorce

Legal separation and divorce are not processes couples should readily jump into. They require careful thought and advisement from the proper authorities. If you or someone you know is thinking about entering either one, contact Christine Howard today. Christine or one of her team members would be glad to talk to you and answer any questions that you may have. Christine can be reached at or by phone at (864) 282-8575.

Referenced from “Legal Separation vs. Divorce” by FindLaw’s Team of Legal Writers and Editors.

Uncontested Divorce and Children

Uncontested Divorce and Children

Divorce is a difficult process for any couple to go through. But not only is it difficult for the adults, it is incredibly hard for the children involved. Everything that the kids have known is suddenly being ripped away from them. Now they are having to adjust to an entirely new schedule and way of life. If divorce is inevitable, then an uncontested divorce is the best method for everyone.

Why is Uncontested Divorce Best?

In an uncontested divorce, both spouses are able to reach an agreement in separation. It is settled outside of court. By doing this, there is less stress for everyone involved. Also, uncontested divorce presents a united front for the kids. Even though their parents will not be together anymore, it shows that they are still able to work together. Couples who are able to work together will show their children that there is no animosity between them.

Uncontested divorces also do not force children to take sides in court. If parents are fighting custody battles, kids will sometimes be asked decide which parent they would like to live with. This can be stressful for children. They love both of their parents and they don’t want to pick between them. With couples that choose an uncontested divorce, that stress is removed.

Uncontested Divorce and Child Custody

Uncontested divorce is also the easiest way to handle child custody. In an uncontested divorce, the parents are able to agree on every aspect of the separation. This includes custody. If the couple is able to decide amongst themselves how parenting duties will be shared, then everybody can be happy with the arrangement. This also takes a lot of stress off the kids. They do not have to worry about having to decide who they want to live with. They also do not have to worry about their parents fighting anytime they are together.

Other Benefits of Uncontested Divorce

Another benefit of uncontested divorce with kids is that it does not cost as much. When couples go through a contested divorce, they are having to constantly shell out money. There are endless fees and other costs that take away money from other areas. With uncontested divorces, couples are working outside of court without all of the hassle that goes along with it. In other words: they are saving a lot of money. This money can be put toward other funds, like college or retirement savings.

Uncontested divorce with children is the best method for everyone involved. It removes time, hassle, and stress from both the couple and the children. It also allows the couple to redirect the money used in a contested divorce to other areas. If you or someone you know is considering a divorce, contact Christine Howard today. Christine or a member of her team will be glad to answer any questions that you might have. She can be reached at or by phone at (864) 282-8575.

Referenced from “Online Uncontested Divorce With Children” from

Referenced from “What Does Uncontested Child Custody Mean?” by David Betz.

When is Separation the Best Option?

When is Separation the Best Option?

Separation is never a process that couples should rush into. It needs to be something that they spend time carefully thinking about. Separation is not always the best option for struggling marriages. But sometimes, there is nothing else that can be done. Separation can provide couples with a much needed break to evaluate the marriage. There are three main reasons why separation might be the best option.

Abusive Spouse

The first scenario where separation might make sense is in an abusive situation. When one spouse begins to seriously threaten the safety of the home, it is time to make a break. The spouse who is the victim has a responsibility to themselves and anyone else in danger to separate and get away from the abusive spouse. Some might try to wait out the danger and hope that it will end. But this is never the right course of action. Most likely, the abusive spouse will continue down that path, and staying will only make it worse for everyone. By getting away from the situation, you are protecting yourself and your children from being placed in harm’s way and allowing for the proper authorities to bring help.

Continuing Bad Habits

Another reason that couples should decide to separate is if one spouse has a history of continuing behaviors that break down the marriage. These can be anything from addiction to infidelity. The marriage can only survive if couples work together to combat any issues they are facing. If one spouse who is suffering from habitual problems refuses to correct them, a break might be in order. The other spouse being affected can do nothing but sit at the sidelines and watch. That is not fair to them and it is not fair to anyone else involved either. Spouses will know that it is time to separate if the spouse who is committing the behavior is not showing any signs of stopping or even wanting to stop.

Separating as Therapy

Sometimes couples will separate as a way to work through any marital issues. While separation is never something to step into lightly, couples who choose to go this route – especially for therapeutic reasons – need to think about it very carefully. Couples who separate for these reasons may not be seeking to divorce, but their marriage might not be working out in the way that it once did. The goal of separation would be temporary with the hope of reconciling. During this time, they need to evaluate where both stand on the marriage and attend counseling together. This way they can determine if the marriage can still work. If not they know that it is time to divorce.

Separation for any reason should be thought about very carefully before couples split. All couples who are seeking this route should not take it lightly. If you or someone you know is thinking about separating, contact Christine Howard today. Christine or anyone on her team would be more than happy to answer any questions you may have about the separation process. She can be reached at or by phone at (864) 282-8575.

Referenced from “Things to Consider Before You Separate” by Focus on the Family.

Coping With the Effects of Divorce

Coping With the Effects of Divorce

Divorce is a difficult process for couples to go through. Not only is it difficult legally and financially, it is also difficult emotionally. The impact of divorce can leave emotional scars on both spouses, but also on kids and other family members. After the divorce is finalize, the next step is to begin the healing process. There are several methods of coping with divorce that have proven to be helpful.

 Get Some Rest

First, make sure to rest after the divorce. Realize that it is okay to not be okay and that it will take time to get back to normal. During this time, if you don’t feel like you can function at the level you used to, that is alright. Take the time to rest, and begin to reconstruct your life. This way when you can go back to work and be more productive than you could have been before.

Surround Yourself With Friends

In the time after the divorce, it is important to be among friends and family. This is a difficult process and you need people who will support you through it. Talking with them about how you are feeling can help to release any pent up emotions that you may have. Along with being around friends, it can be helpful to join support groups. Talking with others in similar situations can help you to cope with your own. You also now have others to talk to who understand what you are feeling.

Take Care of All Your Needs

When coping with divorce, you need to spend time taking care of both your physical and emotional needs. Take time out of your schedule to either develop or continue a healthy lifestyle. This includes eating right, exercising, making sure to get rest. By doing this you can work to return to normalcy. Developing healthy habits will give your mind a way to deal with the stress.

Take Time for Your Interests

Another way to cope with the effects of divorce, spend time doing things you like to do. Work on developing hobbies that you liked to do apart from your spouse. You have the opportunity now, why not take it? Doing things that you enjoy will also help you to get your mind off of things. It is important to take time to relax and still have fun after your divorce. Plus, taking a more active interest in your hobbies can help you make new friends as well.

Everything Will Be Fine

Finally, it is important to remember that everything is going to be alright. Coping with divorce is not easy, but your life will return to normal. While normal will be different from what you are used to, you will need to establish a new normal.  It’s hard. But ultimately, you will be better for it in the long run.

Divorce is never an easy process to go through. It can have both physical and emotional effects for everyone involved. If you or someone you know is considering divorce, contact Christine Howard today. Christine or one of her team members will be happy to answer any questions that you have. Christine can be reached at or by phone at (864) 282-8575.

Referenced from “Coping with Separation and Divorce” by Mental Health America

What You Need to Know Before Filing for Separation

What You Need to Know Before Filing for Separation

Separation is never an easy process for couples to go through. Not only is it emotionally difficult, but it can be legally difficult too. For couple wanting to separate, knowing what steps to take before filing for separation is crucial.

What Does Separation Mean?

In this state, the law requires that spouses live separately for one year before continuing the divorce. What does living separately mean? It means that couples need to reside in different houses before they can qualify for a no-fault divorce. During this time the couples cannot share a house for any reason. Filing for separation will only be able to move forward if couples make plans to move into separate residences.

Dividing Assets

After a couple has taken separate residences, they will need to start going through their finances. As individuals, they will not be able to hold joint accounts after the divorce. It is important during this time to start gathering together a financial plan that will last into the separation and divorce. Couples need to determine a variety of things. Equally splitting any assets involved is the most important part. Assets are anything that the couple owns together. Things like the house, cars, financial accounts, and any other possessions qualify as assets. When a couple separates they will no longer be able to share ownership of these things, so they need to decide who will take what.

Along with determining who takes what, couples need to determine who will pay any debts that are owed. This can cover anything from mortgage to car payments to personal loans that are due. Couples who are separated cannot continue to work together to pay these off. The responsibility has to be given to one spouse. It is up to the couple to determine who is in the best place financially to handle the burden of debt. Neither spouse has to take on all of the debt though. It can be split between spouses with one taking the house payment, another taking a car payment, etc.

Going Through Your Finances

Couples will also need to create separate accounts for everything. Joint accounts will no longer be valid when the couple is not together. Couples need to go through and first close any joint accounts. These include all accounts, checking, savings, credit, etc. Then they need to move their individual finances into new accounts that belong solely to them. Couples also need to set budgets for themselves for after the separation. Regardless of how much each spouse makes, the amount of income will be lower than before. To stay financially stable during this time, spouses will need to know how much income will be coming in and budget accordingly. This way neither one will enter single life with financial struggles.

We Help You Navigate Separation Agreements

Separation will be a difficult process in many ways for everyone involved. But planning for the separation will help the couple to transition smoothly. If you or someone you know is looking to enter into separation, contact Christine Howard today. Christine and her team of attorneys will be glad to answer any questions that you have about the separation process. Christine can be reached at or by phone at (864) 282-8575.

Referenced from “9 Things to do Before You File for a Divorce” by Cathy Meyer

Why Do You Need an Attorney for a Separation Agreement

Why Do You Need an Attorney for a Separation Agreement

Separation agreements can be created by many different methods. Many are able to be done by the couple themselves without any outside help. This certainly makes the process seem simpler. After all, who wants to spend all their time sitting in a divorce lawyer’s office? However, creating separation agreements without an attorney is not always as simple as it might seem. There are several aspects of the agreement that attorneys are able to help couples understand. Without them, couples might become lost and enter into an agreement that neither one will be happy with. Hiring an attorney for a separation agreement is the best option for your divorce.

Drafting Agreements

Drafting the separation agreement is an area that attorneys specialize in. When couples try to create their own divorce agreement, many will use a template found on the internet. This is not terrible, but it is not the best method either. Templates from the internet will usually be generic. They also might not reflect the laws of the state that the couple is living in. Couples working without outside help on agreements might also try to move through the process too quickly. They can become caught up in the prospect of ending the marriage, they might not realize how they are ending it. As a result they can unknowingly give away important assets in the divorce.

How Attorneys Can Help

This is where attorneys are incredibly helpful. They understand the state divorce laws and can create an agreement that accurately abides by them. Along with creating an agreement that reflects specific needs, attorneys are also knowledgeable about language. They know what language will ensure that both parties get what they want. By knowing how to write the agreement, they can better ensure that each spouse will be treated fairly in the divorce as well.

Attorneys will also be more thorough in their process. While they understand that couples are ready for the marriage to be over, they see the marriage from the outside. Their position allows them to work through the process to ensure that the divorce is handled in a way that benefits everyone as much as possible. While the marriage might not be handled as quickly as possible, the couple will not regret loosing certain assets because of a rushed agreement.

Divorce is never an ideal situation. Whenever faced with problems, couples should try everything to save the marriage before considering divorce. When divorce becomes the only option, the best method to use is through a divorce attorney. While couples can work on it themselves, there is a larger chance that they will create an agreement that does not provide the best divorce possible. By hiring an attorney, couples will be able to reach a legal agreement that both parties can be happy with.

If you or someone you know is seeking a divorce, but does not know where to start, contact Christine Howard today. Christine or any member of her team will be happy to answer any questions about the process that you have. She can be reached by email at or by phone at (864) 282-8575.

Referenced from Do You Need an Attorney for a Separation Agreement? by Melannie Dino