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Separation vs. divorce: Which option is best?

When a Maryland couple is experiencing serious marital problems, it is often clear that action must be taken. However, what path to embark upon is a far more difficult choice to make. Many couples waver between pursuing separation or divorce, and are often unaware that there are different potential consequences for each choice. For some, a prolonged separation can be financially devastating, and should be avoided.

A successful separation often is characterized by the effort that both spouses make to work on their marriage from the onset of parting. Once one or both spouses have turned their attention from solving their issues, however, the separation has ceased to serve its purpose. At that point, the best course of action is to move forward with a divorce.

Remaining separated for a prolonged period of time can lead to a wide range of problems. For example, spouses have little knowledge and even less control over how their partner is spending money during the period of separation. This can lead to a significant loss of marital assets, which means there will be less to divide if and when the marriage ends in divorce. Another issue involves changes in the financial circumstances of one's spouse; if he or she experiences a significant reduction in income while separated, the eventual divorce settlement will reflect those changes. The same idea applies to newly accumulated debt.

Spouses who are considering separating should be sure that they have a comprehensive understanding of the risks involved before moving forward. While separation can save some Maryland marriages, many more eventually move toward divorce. As with any major life event, spouses who are fully aware of all of the pros and cons of each choice are better able to make the best possible decision.

Source: Forbes, Putting Off Divorce? Ten Ways Long-term Separations Can Do Women More Harm Than Good, Jeff Landers, Oct. 3, 2013

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