Nobody enters into a marriage and expects it to end. Unfortunately, not all of us end up living in a fairytale and having our happily ever after with our prince or princess. In the US alone, 1 in 4 marriages still ends in divorce, and marriage rates are falling overall . 

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If you’ve decided to end things with your spouse, you may be both wondering the best way of going about it. This post will explore the options of separation and divorce, and will help you understand these options so you can both decide what’s right for you.

What Is a Legal Separation?

A legal separation aims to allow married couples to live separately while retaining access to shared assets such as medical benefits. Their marriage is still binding, so they can’t marry anyone else until they go through divorce proceedings to end their marriage legally.

Just like with a divorce, the couple in question will need to draft a legal agreement between them to state the terms of their separation. This should cover aspects such as the division of shared assets, debts, child custody, and spousal support.  

Legal Separation Could Save You Money

If you and your spouse are amicable towards each other, you may find legal separation to be a cheaper option than a divorce. This is because you can easily download a free legal separation agreement template and customize it to yours and your partners’ needs, state those at

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However, this is entirely dependent on how well you feel about it and whether your ex-partner could abide by such an agreement. If you have any doubts, it’s probably better to consult a lawyer to help you and your partner draft an agreement with the relevant enforcements. 

Legal Separation Helps Make Divorce Easier 

Typically, most couples will go through some element of separation if they decide to divorce. However, if you make it a formal legal separation with a contract of agreed terms that you’ve maintained over a set period, you could find divorce proceedings much simpler. 

This is due to the fact that your divorce terms would be most likely granted based on the terms previously agreed during your separation period. This eliminates the need for painful and emotional negotiations and protracted court proceedings. 

Divorce Is Final

If you feel like you can’t continue your life without fully ending your marriage due to a need for closure or because you’ve found someone new, then divorce is your solution. 

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Once you divorce your spouse, you become legally single again. You and your partner will have to divide up shared assets and will lose out on any benefits garnered from being married to each other. 

Additionally, if you jump straight into divorce proceedings without brokering a legal separation agreement, you may find that the overall process is longer and more difficult. 

Better Together 

Unfortunately, not all of us have a happy ending after marriage, and breakups are sometimes necessary.

If you find yourself in this predicament, the most sensible thing to do is work with your ex-partner to draft a separation agreement that you can both abide by.

Once this trial period is up, you can reconvene to discuss whether divorce is the next step. If it is, you’ll find the process to be a lot more straightforward because you have taken the time to work with each other.