Legal Separation vs. Divorce

When a marriage is under strain and both partners seek to end it, there are several steps to do so and several options on how to do it. Legal separation and divorce have many things in common, but there are some fundamental differences that anyone going through the process should understand. While both offer advantages and disadvantages, ultimately it comes down to what decision is right for each unique situation. Here we explain the difference between legal separation vs. divorce.

Above all, legal separation does not put an end to the marriage. It does protect your interests until either reconciliation is made or a divorce is granted. Legal separation advice from an attorney is often an advantage because the couple gets time apart to decide which direction to take. It also allows the continuation of benefits such as medical insurance and others that are terminated after a divorce.

All these conditions are drawn up in a legal separation agreement, done by an attorney. Other things included in this agreement could be child support and custody issues, spousal support and steps to separate assets. A legal separation also protects one spouse from being responsible for any debt accumulated by the other during the separation. Not all states recognize legal separation.

Divorce is the end of a marriage and any legal relationship between two people. After providing legal separation advice, necessary paperwork is filed by an attorney and submitted to the courts, a judge will grant the divorce. Permanent agreements concerning child custody, child support, alimony, asset and property division as well as any other topics the couple feels they need to address are part of a divorce decree.

Many times, a couple will get a legal separation as a step towards getting a divorce. It is an appropriate opportunity to hammer out the conditions of the separation and then adjustments can be made for the final divorce paperwork. If a judge sees that both parties heeded legal separation advice, agreed to a legal separation arrangement and have forwarded the existing conditions into a divorce decree, he or she is likely to grant the divorce with little to no inquiry. However, if couples are unwilling to negotiate on the issues in a legal separation document or a divorce decree, the judge will step in and mandate the conditions of the agreement.

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