As a Long Island Divorce attorney, I have seen many occasions, where, for a variety of reasons, some Long Island couples facing significant difficulty in their marriage decide that they will not divorce. Sometimes these reasons are financial, and sometimes they are religious or based on personal belief systems. Whatever the reason, there are several options that might work for couples like this, depending on the couple’s goals and objectives. Read on to learn about options for avoiding divorce when it seems all but inevitable.
Why Not Divorce?
Financial reasons such as needing two incomes to afford rent or mortgage, not having the money to get a divorce, or needing the health insurance coverage, might force married couples who would otherwise divorce to stay together. Religious reasons such as believing that divorce is sinful can also be a motive to stay together. Feeling that the divorce would be emotionally devastating or be harmful to your children might be another reason. Whatever the reason, couples are sometimes faced with the decision of how to move forward in a marriage that feels hopeless.
Have You Considered Working on Your Marriage?
First and foremost, it is important to recognize that there are ways to improve your marriage that you may not have considered. Working on your marriage in spite of the obstacles you are currently facing can help you and your spouse to learn about yourselves, each other, and understand the issues in your marriage.
Marriage counseling is one option that can help the two of you work on communication, boundaries, and changing unhealthy patterns that exist in the marriage. It can take some time before you see progress, but you might ask yourself if the marriage is worth the effort. Often, it is. Especially when there are children involved, or when you know that you still love one another, committing to marriage counseling can guide you through the rough waters into more peaceful and happier times.
Seeking guidance through a religious or spiritual leader such as your pastor or clergyman can also be a source of healing for your marriage. Perhaps you and your spouse share similar beliefs and similar views on marriage. This path could help you both to ask yourselves honestly how you can personally improve and be a better spouse and person. Working on personal development and aspiring to improve will inevitably help you handle conflict in your marriage, and if your spouse does the same then there is great room for improvement and to make your relationship healthier and happier.
Separation as a Viable Alternative
If you are certain there is no hope for salvaging your relationship, such as in a situation where there is abuse or mistreatment, but at the same time feel that you cannot or should not divorce, then perhaps a separation would best suit your circumstances. Although most couples that choose separation over divorce do so as a kind of trial period before going ahead with divorce, others find that separation is a viable alternative to divorce and makes more sense for them than going through with the divorce.
‘De Facto’ or Legal Separation?
A separation can be “de facto” if you and your spouse decide to live separately or can be a legal separation where you form a separation agreement in writing. Couples who are separated are still legally married, and carry all the rights and responsibilities of a married couple despite living arrangements. Benefits of marriage related to taxes, pensions, healthcare, and social security, as well as some of the drawbacks of marriage, such as being on the hook for your spouse’s debts, will likely apply if you are separated.
Legal Separation Agreements
A separation agreement can set forth the terms of your separation, and can be very similar to a divorce in a lot of ways. The agreement can govern spousal support payments, child support, and even a schedule for co-parenting. However, it leaves room for reconciliation and is far more flexible than a divorce, which is final. A divorce mediator can help you and your spouse decide on what terms are best for you and reach an agreement.
Contact an Experienced Long Island Divorce Attorney for Answers to Your Questions
If you have questions about whether a legal separation is the best choice for your situation, reach out to the experienced Long Island Divorce Attorneys at the Office of Robert E. Hornberger, Esq., P.C. We serve Nassau County, Suffolk County, and the boroughs of New York City. Call us at 631-923-1910 for a free consultation today.
For more information about Divorce on Long Island, visit this page: Divorce Lawyers Answer Questions about Long Island Divorce
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