divorce vs. separation - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 9 Old 09-10-2006, 06:33 AM - Thread Starter
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Hi there ... I am hoping to tap your collective wisdom on this question. As discussed in another recent thread, I am in a bad relationship and am teetering on the brink of leaving it. I have a 2 year old kid with my partner and my most important consideration in all of this is her happiness.

While I increasingly want to leave and think it may be necessary to protect our daughter from the hostility between her parents, I don't particularly care whether we are divorced or not. I would be OK long term just being separated, and maybe that would feel better to DD and to my partner (which might mean we had a better co-parenting relationship, which is why it matters to me for the purposes of this discussion). But as far as I can tell, a parenting plan in Washington courts (where we live) comes into play only when you file a divorce petition.

Anyone in a long term separation rather than divorce? Thoughts?

Loving Lucy Amelia
"light makes it better"
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#2 of 9 Old 09-10-2006, 08:59 AM
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I just read your other post and I was in a really similar situation to you. and when I left I actually filed for seperation instead of divorce
(against my attorney's wishes) because I thought my soon to be ex would flip less. He didnt. All it did was cost me extra filing fees to change the seperation to a divorce. And the paperwork, even though I had left, made him angry. But the details in my seperation agreement were the same in my divorce as far as custody issues, etc. When you aren't divorced, and your name is on legal paperwork together, it has to stay there.
Its early and I need more coffee so my words are kind of jumbled. But you can pm me and I can answer more specific questions if you would like.
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#3 of 9 Old 09-10-2006, 11:26 AM
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Unless you have a particular reaosn for seeking legal separation -- like a parent is ill and you want to be able to keep him/her on your health insurance -- I agree with the pp. There's no real point to it. If your intent to leave is serious, stringing your husband along is only going to make things bitter in the end.

To address your last point, many lawyers advise staying put till one of you can move out nicely, unless there's abuse. Everyone recognizes it's awful. But it's one of those suck-it-up things, unless you can find a way of doing it very carefully. Many states take fathers' rights seriously now, so I'll repeat, if you run off with your daughter, that may come back to haunt you in the custody determination,and make things awful for much, much longer. Get things straight with a lawyer first. Find one you like, and pay attention to the lawyer's local reputation.
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#4 of 9 Old 09-10-2006, 12:04 PM
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I'm in a long term separation....but we didn't intend for it to be like this, it just sort of happened. We have a separation agreement and in our minds we are completely separated....we just never wanted to spend the time or the money to get the actual divorce done.

The separation vs. divorce has made no difference in the way we get along....but we do get along well right now. But that has more to do with time than anything else.

I also have a friend who stays married to her ex because of some financial reasons (not exactly sure) but they've been separated now for 11 years and it works for them.

As other have said, if you plan to eventually do the divorce down the road, it will cost you more money in the long run.
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#5 of 9 Old 09-10-2006, 12:12 PM
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One downside of not officially divorcing (I'm not sure the difference between a LEGAL separation and divorce in this case) is that if your legal spouse racks up debt, it may be considered joint debt if you are legally married. I think that a legal separation would also include custody specifics.
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#6 of 9 Old 09-10-2006, 11:29 PM
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in my state legal separation and divorce is the same process.

Jami (25) Roland (27) & Caleb (5), Jacob (3.5) , Kaitlyn (2)
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#7 of 9 Old 09-11-2006, 09:33 AM
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Since I am overseas, divorces are hard to get. We are going to get a legal seperation since it can be done here. It will have everything determined like child custody etc. Then we can file for divorce when we get back to the US.

According to my lawyer there are no laws on seperation. They must follow the divorce laws. The only difference is that a legal seperation is not a legal binding document. Basically if you choose to get back together you don't have to get remarried.

Where as if you chose to get a divorce, you have to serve your partner with papers. Then you have to wait so long before you can go before court. There is also another waiting period before it is filed in court. It can take years to get a divorce if one person contests it.

Some states like mine, Iowa, are no contest states, meaning your partner can not contest unless he has a valid reason, like child custody. My friend is trying to get a divorce but her state, Pennsylvania, allows you to contest the divorce for no reason at all.
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#8 of 9 Old 09-11-2006, 10:41 AM
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I have been seperated from my ex for 2.5 years now. We are working on getting divorced but it is taking forever because he owns a business. I think there are more benefits to being divorced. As the pp pointed out, when you are divorced you are not responsible for your ex's debt. You can purchase a home without having to have your ex sign off on it (my ex had to sign off on my house since we are still legally married). You can file taxes without having to file as married.

There is nothing really wrong with staying seperated if that works for you. It hasn't been too bad for me. We were able to get a temporary custody and child support agreement and that made things better. Just do what works for you!

Zen doula-mama to my spirited DS1 (2/03), my CHD (TAPVR) warrior DS2 (6/07) & a gentle baby girl (8/09)
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#9 of 9 Old 09-15-2006, 06:59 PM
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The reason I have not moved for a legal separation is because some health insurance companies look at a legal separation as "the end". Some companies will discontinue benefits for the spouse when the legal separation is filed. Just something to consider as you weigh all your options.
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