Many couples go through marital problems. Many work things out. But sometimes the problems are so acute that the couples conclude that it is time to end the marriage. However, sometimes couples are not ready for the financial and emotional consequences that a divorce entails. However, a number of alternatives exist to a full-fledged divorce.
The non-divorce divorce
One little-known alternative to divorce is called the non-divorce. This option is most suited for couples who are still on friendly terms, but for whom romantic passion has ended. The couple agrees to continue joint financial arrangements, such as health insurance, and to live in the same residence, albeit in separate areas. The main advantage of this arrangement is that the couple will avoid a lot of the financial consequences of living apart and separating commonly held property.
A trial separation allows the couple to live apart while they contemplate ending the marriage on a permanent basis. The trial period can be six months or any other period while the couple tries to figure out what their future is. Couples undergoing a trial separation need to work out issues such as the use of jointly held bank accounts and credit cards.
A legal separation has all of the elements of a divorce without some of the legal consequences. This option works for couples for whom a formal divorce will either have devastating financial consequences (loss of health insurance, for example) or for couples who have moral or religious qualms to divorce. Couples will still have to file papers in a court and work out issues such as co-parenting children. The length of a legal separation varies from state to state, limited to a year in Indiana, for example, or indefinitely in Washington State.
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