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Comparing Legal Separation And Divorce


Divorce law in DC is complex, which is why anyone considering a legal separation or divorce should consult directly with a lawyer. is the attorneys at Douglas & Boykin, PLLC are familiar with the ins and outs of family law and know the District of Columbia family court system. While some people may only be interested in legal separation, others prefer to pursue a divorce to preserve their financial security and secure a child support order. Continue reading to find out more about the differences between legal separation and divorce.

Temporary Solution

The biggest difference between legal separation and divorce is that legal separation is generally intended to be a temporary solution to marital problems, a judge may terminate a decree of legal separation at any time if both parties ask for the decree to be revoked. For example, a couple undergoing serious financial difficulties or facing one partner’s infidelity may decide to take time apart to work on the marriage. Unlike a trial separation, which has no legal effect, a legal separation obligates each party to fulfill certain duties and obligations. An individual seeking a legal separation should consider obtaining the services of a family law attorney who can assist with securing orders relating to child care and distribution of assets in the family court.

Permanent Separation
A divorce is a permanent solution that takes place by court order. With divorce, a couple that was formerly treated as one legal entity is treated as two separate people. Debts and assets are divided in a process called equitable distributions where the judge will consider any relevant factor in an attempt to make a fair distribution of the assets and debts the parties accrued during the marriage. If the parties have children the judge will determine the custody arraignment for those children. As your family law attorney will explain, depending on the circumstances, all debts that are acquired before a final divorce may be treated as jointdebts of both spouses. Additionally, if there was a prenuptial agreement or the parties have agreed on how the assets and debts will be distributed a judge will seek to honor the agreement as long as it is valid.

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