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Deciding on divorce versus legal separation

Those in Maryland or elsewhere experiencing marital difficulties may want to give some thought to whether a legal separation is appropriate for the circumstances or whether obtaining a divorce is the way to go. Some may have religious objections to divorce or may need to remain married for an additional period of time. This may be in order to qualify for spousal Social Security benefits or certain military spousal benefits, such as health insurance or purchasing privileges at military exchanges.

In such cases, a legal separation can be the solution to sort out a variety of economic and practical issues without formally ending the marriage at this point. There are both advantages and disadvantages to this "in-between status," and an experienced family lawyer can help you sort them out, including spelling out how the applicable law impacts on your particular situation.

If those objections or goals don't interfere, the question still is whether the marriage has broken down irretrievably or whether there is still some possibility of reconciliation that is worth striving for. If that is not the case, the best thing is probably just to face up to that reality, go forward with the divorce and plan to go on with your life.

The best thing may be to have a direct and honest conversation with your estranged spouse. If there is any possibility of patching up a fractured marriage, it has to be something that both spouses really want to try. In some such cases, marital counseling or a mediation process may be helpful. If that is not the case, it is better to face up to the fact and recognize it as futile and a waste of time.

Huffington Post, "Is Divorce Right for You?" Debbie Martinez, Oct. 31, 2013

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