Why are so many attorneys seemingly against legal separation? I truly feel in my circumstance its best for me/us. Is it because they wont make as much money? We have already started the divorce process. Can it be switched?
I can’t speak for all divorce attorneys, and I am not an attorney licensed to practice law in Illinois (I practice divorce and family law in Utah), but I can tell you why I personally don’t like going the temporary separation route.
Too many people divorce needlessly. Too many people divorce only to discover that their spouses and marriages weren’t their problem and/or that divorce wasn’t the solution. I support desires and efforts to save marriage. While legal separation may sound to some like a good way to “get some space” to contemplate whether one should stay married or should divorce, I’ve found that:
□ legal separation tends to damage a marriage far more than fostering its survival; and
□ by the time one wants a legal separation, he or she really wants a divorce and is only postponing divorce out of fear or laziness or for the sake of appeasing the other spouse or “letter him/her down easy”.
While I am sure there are people out there whose legal separation proved that “absence makes the hear grow fonder” and helped them “wake up” and realize that their marriage is worth saving, I know no such people.
If I recall correctly, I’ve seen one legal separation end with the couple later reconciling. In every other legal separation situation, the couple has eventually divorced. So you can see where this is going: why go to the additional trouble, expense, and emotional ordeal of obtaining a legal separation order if you’re going to end up divorcing anyway and having to go through more of the same kind of effort, wait, expense, and pain again?
I understand the desire to give the marriage every last reasonable opportunity to survive. I understand the desire to take every reasonable effort to save it. But at the same time, I don’t see the point in pouring time, effort, care, and money into what is for most a hopeless cause. **That stated,** I would much rather “waste” time, effort, care, and money on taking every reasonable effort to save my marriage if it meant having the peace of mind that I gave saving my marriage everything I could in an effort to save it before deciding that it was not worth saving or that I alone could not save it and concluding that divorce was the only remaining option.
Are there divorce lawyers who discourage legal separation because they make (or believe they make) less money working on a legal separation instead of a divorce? I’m sure there are. But not all of us are out to take the client for all he or she is worth (you’d be wise to ensure you don’t hire a greedy lawyer, but there are some among us who are decent, caring, trustworthy professionals worth seeking out). In my experience, if one wants to do all he or she can to save his or her marriage, then working to improve yourself as a spouse, making changes in your family environment, and giving your best efforts to some good marriage counseling are certainly worthwhile. Legal separation rarely, if ever, helps improve a marriage. It tends to weaken and destroy a marriage.
Utah Family Law, LC | divorceutah.com | 801-466-9277