Legal Separation vs. Divorce – which one is a better option?

Being happily married is still a dream for many people. Having a loving and caring partner to spend the rest of your life is still an unmet need. The agreement of “marriage” sounds appealing, but not everything turns out to be perfect when things go real.

The same dream spouse sometimes becomes toxic for one’s mental and physical health, or sometimes people get unable to sync up with each other’s thought process, and therefore, many couples opt for a divorce or legal separation.

Any couple who no longer wants to live together can file for a divorce to end up all the legal obligations towards each other and begin a new life. But in case a couple is not willing to end things permanently and legally but wants to live apart with fair conditions and settlement of finance and children, there is a provision of legal separation in New York state.

What is the Legal Separation Agreement?

A Legal Separation Agreement can be filed in the court by the couple who wants to separate, and through this agreement, they do not end their marriage, but they get separated. It sounds much like a divorce, but it isn’t.

In Legal Separation, you continue to remain married legally, but you are no longer required to live together or share things necessarily. Many couples in New York opt for Legal Separation because their religions look up “divorce” as a negative thing, and people opting for Legal Separation continue to maintain the status of marriage to cope up with the church schedules and religion.

Also, when a couple is unsure about whether it wants to end up things permanently or not – they can go for legal separation to find out how they feel about drifting apart. It depends on one’s personal preference. However, in a legal separation agreement, you cannot remarry until you get divorced.

Further, if a couple chooses to get permanently separated, they can later file for divorce, and the agreement of legal separation can be taken into account as the “grounds” of separation.

Why Legal Separation?

In case a couple is unhappy living together, the option of legal separation serves various perks over divorce, such as:

  1. Legal Separation can be reversed anytime, but once you’ve been divorced, there’s no going back. This is helpful for the couples who are unsure about their ill-feeling towards each other.
  2. It does not affect children mentally as this is something that isn’t permanent, and they still have the assurance that their parents are married, but they just aren’t living together. Divorce hits up hard on children’s mental and psychological health.
  3. It helps to remain connected with the religion and church because the narrowed tag of “divorced” isn’t shoved on the person.
  4. In the case of legal separation, couples are still entitled to some benefits like social security and pensions.
  5. A legal separation can be treated as a stopping point in the line of divorce where they can sort up various issues of custody and financial settlement while keeping the marriage intact so that it gets easier for both of them past divorce.

Both of the options – legal separation and marriage are lawful and can be enforced whenever the couple finds their marriage to be failing in an unhealthy manner.

Why Joint Custody?

Apart from everything discussed above, custody can be a subject of emotional destruction and a problem. Even if people fail to become good partners, they still remain unconditionally attached to their children. It becomes tough to give up on their own children, and therefore, sometimes the only solution to such an issue could be “joint custody,” where both of the parents behold a right to have a say in the major decisions of their children.

But often when the decisions of mother and father intersect each other, it leads to the stalemate, and hence, the New York courts avoid such judgments that cause more problems and legal issues thereafter. However, for Physical Custody, the court orders one of the parents to be the custodian, still allowing the other parents a specified number of visits. And in the case of Joint Custody, both of them are tagged as a custodian where the child can live one week with mother, another week with father and howsoever the agreement goes.


Joint custody in NY is usually not preferred by the courts or parents either since it becomes very inconvenient to shift the child every other week month to a new place, therefore generally, one of the parents becomes the custodian. Although, the other one still gets obliged to pay child support, which is later termed as “alimony” after divorce.

Even though separation is a tough and bitter measure, it becomes necessary when any relationship gets toxic. Therefore, it can be an individual’s personal choice whether to get a legal separation or a divorce.

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