Marriages are believed to be made in heaven, but not all seem to be lived up there as many go through lot of hell before they end up being broken. There are three earthly ways of ending a marriage: 1) Annulment; 2) Divorce and 3) Separation.
Annulment of Marriage
An annulment of marriage is different from divorce in the sense that when a marriage is annulled it is deemed never to have taken place – atleast on papers. Annulment is done when marriages are made void at the very beginning. An under-age marriage is void even at its consummation, but once the marriage has happened then the process of annulment is necessary to free the parties from any legal entanglements.
This is the most common form of separation for a married couple. A couple is considered divorced when the court officially declares the married partners as legally separated. Unlike in annulment, a court can grant a divorce only if the marriage was legal to start with. Once you are divorced you are legally single and you are free to marry anyone of your choice. But for those who are not ready yet to completely sever all ties with their partners there is the third option of separation.
When a couple decides to live away from each other because they find it difficult to live with each other, then they are separated. They are still legally a married couple but they are no more together.
There are two types of separation as explained below:
1) Informal Separation
This is a temporal form of separation, a mutual arrangement for a short period, where a couple decides to stay away from each other to consider the future of their relationship. They could even decide to come back together after sorting out their differences.
During this period the couple legally remain as married and so are responsible for every decision made by each other that affects their joint status. Hence it is necessary for the couple to have an informal agreement between them laying out certain regulations that will help guide their actions while being separate. The use of bank accounts and credit cards, the receipt of social benefits, the sharing of profits received and of losses incurred, care of kids, etc are factors that need to be laid out in the informal agreement. It would also be mutually beneficial to lay out a time frame for a possible reconciliation as it would enable each one to work towards it and plan things accordingly.
But in case the couple are thinking of divorce then there are certain things the couple should keep in mind. When the couple approach the court for divorce the time of separation is very important to decide the sharing of financial profits or losses incurred by each of the partner. Since most of the separations happen without any pre-planning, the couple tend to forget the exact day one of them left in a huff.
2) Legal Separation
If a couple feel that they have had enough and there is no chance of getting back into the relationship and they decide to separate for good, then the separation is permanent. Couples prefer being permanently and legally separated than being divorced so that they don’t have to live with the tag of being divorced. Many manage to live happy lives all through their separation.
Religious pressures also force couples to stay legally separated than divorced. Many chose it to provide their children with a family that is together legally – a slightly better option than growing up in a legally divorced family. Some even chose it to receive social benefits and spousal insurance benefits, etc, which would otherwise cease with divorce.
A legally separated partner is not entitled to the profits made by the other, nor is responsible for the losses or debts incurred by the other. Some courts pass orders on matters like property distribution, child custody, alimony, etc while legally granting the separation.
Legal separation, unlike divorce, does not grant you the right to remarry. But if you are concerned about the care of your kids and are not eager for a total change in your life, then legal separation would be a better option than divorce.