If there’s a remote chance you want to save your marriage, you would probably do whatever it takes in a heartbeat. But if you’re still undecided and grappling with whether to leave your spouse for good through a divorce or have a much-needed space figuring out if there is room for reconciliation, “separate maintenance” may address your family’s circumstances.
How is separate maintenance different from divorce?
As a form of legal separation in Georgia, separate maintenance allows you to live separately while retaining your marital status. This arrangement means that both of you are free from each other’s authority, control or any form of interference.
Here are some reasons why you may be considering separate maintenance instead of a divorce:
- You firmly hold on to your moral or religious beliefs discouraging divorce.
- You want to keep the financial benefits – health care insurance, Social Security and tax breaks – tied to your marital relationship.
- You are still entertaining the possibility of working out your issues and differences with your spouse.
Separate maintenance is not without drawbacks. Since you’re still technically married to your spouse, remarriage is not an option for both of you. Also, in some contexts, separate maintenance doesn’t have the same legal recognition as a divorce.
Further, you and your spouse must ensure that you have a separation agreement specifying clear guidelines on custody, visitation, child support, spousal support and property division.
An alternative route
If you think all you need is a temporary break and your marriage is still worth saving, pursuing separate maintenance is a viable option. Working with a legal team to help you untangle all complexities will ultimately serve your family’s best interests.