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Legal Separation vs Divorce: What’s the difference

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Making a decision whether to get a legal separation vs divorce is often confusing. However, before committing to any of the above choices, it is important to comprehend the legal and emotional effects of both options. Usually, legal separation is regarded as an alternative to divorce especially for people who can no longer stand staying together but are not willing to end their marriage for certain reasons.

A legal separation is similar to a divorce in that you can negotiate child support and custody, a division of property and spousal support. However, you’ll still be legally married to your spouse but living separately. The main important difference between the two is that when you get divorced, your marriage is terminated officially.

However, with a legal separation, both parties are still bound and cannot remarry.

All the agreements in a legal separation are legally binding with the court order outlining the rights and responsibilities of each partner.

So, why get a Legal separation instead of a Divorce?

If you are uncertain that you want a divorce, then you probably should consider a legal separation since you’ll still be legally married but living separately. Later, if you choose to get divorced then you’ll have to follow the legal steps essential to terminate your marriage.

There are a number of reasons as to why a person may consider separating legally from him spouse but remain nuptial as explained below.

  • If you are in conflict with divorce for moral or religious reasons
  • If one spouse is likely to become eligible to the other partner’s government benefits, tax benefits, insurance, and other health care benefits if they stay married.
  • If you consider chances of reconciliation after spending some time apart.
  • If both parties have a mutual agreement to negotiate a separation agreement as compared to a divorce agreement since you both consider it less stressful.
  • If your state’s residency requirements or waiting period disqualifies you to file for a divorce and instead orders a court-sanctioned separation agreement until you are authorized to file for divorce.

Most of the issues addressed during a legal separation are also addressed during a divorce process. Some states, however, require a separation before a divorce while in others, a legal separation becomes the grounds for divorce.

Both divorce and legal separation are valid and useful options that a couple can consider if they are struggling with a failing marriage. In case you decide to remain married because of personal reasons, it is necessary to get an experienced divorce attorney to handle the separation, whether it’s a trial separation which is at times informal or the legal separation. Ensure you get all the necessary information with the pros and cons of both options.

Attorney David Pedrazas, a recognized and committed divorce and legal separation family law expert Salt Lake City, will offer great help for any person dealing with such cases to achieve a successful resolution in all family matters.

You can contact us online or visit our website at for consultation and free case evaluations.