Reluctance to make a divorce official is normal for couples going through a difficult separation, especially when there are children or high-value assets involved. However, putting off the inevitable with a long-term separation will not help you or your spouse, and it can incite negative legal and personal repercussions.
Short-term separations are perfectly reasonable, and they can even help a couple make a decision to reconcile or divorce. But many couples undergo long-term separation that lasts for years with no discernible end in sight. If you are involved in a situation like this, there can be lasting negative effects to your actions – or rather, inactions.
When Children Are Involved
Many couples believe it is in their children’s best interest to separate for a while rather than drop the “D” word. However, your children are better off understanding what the situation is rather than being held in limbo for an undetermined amount of time. Children need stability to feel safe, and a final decision one way or the other is what will give them this security.
If you need help finding the words to tell your children about an impending divorce, there are resources to help you through tough discussions. Do not let your children suffer by subjecting them to the roller coaster of a long-term separation.
When Valuable Assets Are on the Line
If you and your spouse share valuable assets, such as property, late-model cars, expensive antiques, or other such assets, a long-term separation can be dangerous. Here are a few factors that may negatively affect your family:
- You have no control over how your spouse is managing his or her “side” of the assets.
- You have no legal right to your half of shared assets. Thus, efforts to claim what’s yours will not hold in a court of law.
- Your spouse has time to hide assets, and when a court is finally involved, you may not receive the settlement you expect.
- If your spouse disposes of or sells assets, you will have no legal right to the money.
- Your spouse could move out of the state (or the country) to take advantage of lax out-of-state laws or use legal loopholes to protect his or her assets.
- Your spouse could dissipate marital assets by buying a new significant other lavish gifts, expensive dinners, etc.
By indefinitely separating, you risk your future wellbeing. Your assets, savings accounts, and financial security can be usurped without your spouse facing any legal consequences. By making your separation official with a divorce, your spouse will legally be held responsible for his or her financial decision-making, and your half of the assets will be completely protected.
To fully protect your current and future property and other assets, enlist the professional services of a divorce professional who has successful experience handling asset protection, property protection strategy, and complex asset division cases.
When Your Life Gets Put on Hold
Besides the risk of hurting your children and losing assets, you should be worried about your own personal risks. Your mental health, happiness, and future success are all at stake during a long-term separation. Agreeing to remain in this dance with an ostracized spouse gives your partner the OK to indefinitely stay in your life. In turn, this results in your inability to move on, find new love, and regain personal happiness.
When Divorce Legislation Changes
Unfortunately, most divorce laws are significantly different depending on which state you are residing in, meaning there could be serious consequences if your spouse decides to pick up and move to a different state during the separation period. For example, many states across the country have passed laws that put restrictions on the amount and time frame for which alimony payments must be paid. Therefore, during a long-term separation, your spouse could move to a different state with different divorce laws, putting you in a difficult situation that will likely require help from a professional.
Another conceivable disadvantage of being in a long-term separation instead of getting divorced is that divorce laws like alimony and spousal support can potentially change in your own current state. If your legal separation lasts too long, it’s possible that your spouse will not need to change residence to a different state with more favorable divorce laws. It is important to keep up with prospective divorce law “reform” measures taking place or gaining support by your state legislatures.
Do not let long-term separation eat away at you and your children’s happiness, financial security, and or your personal standard of living. If you need advice or help in deciding what to do and or how to do it, contact an experienced family law attorney for legal counsel. Allow them to make an otherwise difficult situation a little easier, and discover the freedom of settling a long-term separation once and for all.