Legal Separation vs Divorce

What is a Legal Separation?

When a couple gets a legal separation, it is a lot like a divorce. It will involve the same process of filing papers with the court to start a legal action. The court will then have to make the decisions about where the children will live, debts, and assets in a divorce. At the end of the process, the parties are legally separated instead of being actually divorced. This means that they are still married but not responsible for each other and what the other party does.

A legal separation is the best thing to do in the last stages of couples not getting along. It can be a way of taking a break and finding out what each party wants. There is no reason to rush into getting a divorce for some people and it is a decision that has to be well thought out just as the marriage should have been.

Sometimes when people are on a legal separation, they will try and work things out. However, there are some cases, where it will not work and the parties’ involved want to get a divorce. One year after the legal separation is granted, one of the parties can petition to convert the separation to a divorce. They can do this without further hearings and the other party cannot prevent it from happening. People will sometimes prefer the separation instead of a divorce because of their religious beliefs or for insurance purposes.


If the party then decides to get a divorce, it will terminate their marriage. In order to do that, parties involved will go to court and decide how to handle questions of the children and how to divide their marital property. Each party is going to be responsible for one half of the marital debts.

Marital property is anything that the couple bought while they were married. It does not matter whose name the property is in or who actually purchased it. Bank accounts, pensions, and stocks are marital property even if they are held in one name only. Property brought into the marriage is still marital depending on the length of the marriage and what type of property it is. The court will be as fair as it can and sometimes the parties involved will make the right choices about being fair in the divorce.

It is always a good thing when a couple can make the appropriate decisions about how things should be split up before actually going to court. Both parties should have attorneys and this will help things progress along without having to worry about any legalities. This is the best way to protect each party’s assets and to make sure that the proceedings are fair.

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