Here are Five Disadvantages to Legal Separation

Bringing your marriage to an end is a difficult decision to make. Although it has its benefits, there are disadvantages to legal separation you need to know about.

Key Disadvantages of Legal Separation

As well as weighing the advantages, you should also bear in mind the potential.

1. You aren’t divorced

This might seem obvious, but with legal separation, you’re still actually married.

During this time, you won’t be able to start a domestic partnership or remarry, which can present problems to some people.

2. It can affect your inheritance rights

An additional drawback to legal separation is it doesn’t necessarily stop your spouse from inheriting from you. Since you never legally terminated your marriage, your spouse is eligible to inherit. They may be able to claim rights to a portion of your estate, which is obviously undesirable if you’re no longer together.

3. Additional expense for divorce

A legal separation may be a good option for you if you plan on staying married – but not necessarily together – for an extended period.

It’s not always the best plan if you’re relatively certain a full divorce will happen in the future, however. In Arizona, you can convert a legal separation to a dissolution.  However, a new Petition will have to be filed and if anything has changed relative to any children of your marriage, new parenting time and child support orders may have to be crafted. Property and debt divisions from a Legal Separation Decree will, in almost all circumstances, carry over to the new Divorce Decree.

4. Legal separations are not faster

Despite what you may think, legal separations aren’t quick. They still require paperwork,division of property and debts, orders pertaining to any children, and orders relating to spousal maintenance all of which can take a considerable amount of time.

5. Legal separations can be as stressful as divorce

Since they’re essentially the same process as a divorce, legal separations can place just as much stress on both parties. This added stress could further exacerbate relationship tensions, pushing you closer to divorce.

Consider an Informal Separation

Before filing for a full legal separation, consider a trial period for an informal separation. Not only will you get the space a legal separation grants, you’ll avoid tricky legal situations.

This blog should be used for informational purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader and should not be construed as legal advice. If you need legal advice regarding Disadvantages to Legal Separation, or any other family law issue, please feel free to contact Steven H. Everts at 480.461.5300, log on to, or contact an attorney in your area. Udall Shumway PLC is located in Mesa, Arizona and is a full service law firm. We assist Individuals, families, businesses, schools and municipalities in Mesa and the Phoenix/East Valley.