Reasons to Avoid Separation and Plunge Into Divorce

Maryland couples who are considering divorce may have instead settled on a temporary separation agreement before they take the plunge. A growing body of evidence shows, however, that a legal separation can be even more destructive than a quick divorce. Even though short-term separations that last a couple months might be beneficial, the longer stints – those lasting years – can take its toll on spouse’s pocketbooks and emotions. Consider some reasons for simply giving in to the divorce instead of holding on during years of legal separation.

First, those who are legally separated will have a hard time avoiding bitterness since their spouse can manage marital assets according to their own preferences. Living separately can limit both spouses’ ability to monitor financial moves such as investing, selling property or even buying big-ticket items. In addition, if you live in a community property state, your spouse could be accumulating debt that will contribute to your financial load. Even in equitable distribution states, you could be responsible if your spouse is making purchases through joint credit cards.

A long-term separation provides a ripe opportunity for the financially advantaged spouse to begin hiding assets. Even though you may not be rushing to legally end your marriage for other reasons, your spouse could be taking the time to ferret away holdings that might be overlooked during divorce discovery. Long separations make it less likely that the non-moneyed spouse will notice financial dishonesty. Additionally, if your spouse’s financial situation changes during your separation – he or she takes a different job, for instance – you could be entitled to far less settlement money. The amount of child and spousal support to which you are entitled could drop dramatically under those circumstances.

Even though a long-term separation may seem to make sense for you, consider the drawbacks of this choice. Qualified divorce and family attorneys can help separated couples learn more about their legal rights and responsibilities.

Source:, “Putting off divorce? Ten ways long-term separations can do women more harm than good” Jeff Landers, Oct. 03, 2013