Divorce Guide

Divorce Guide


What is the difference between legal separation and a divorce ?


There is a lot of difference between divorce and legal separation. Both the terms are completely different. Both refer to spouses living separately but are two distinct legal actions.

Divorce accomplishes several basic things like dissolving the legal bond between the husband and wife. Assets and debts are distributed, child custody is determined, support payments may be ordered.

The order pertaining legal separation outlines the rights and responsibilities of each spouse while they live apart. In case of children, there are temporary arrangements for the care, financial support and custody of the children.

Legal separation and divorce regarding end of marriage:

  1. A divorce is a permanent effect and permanent separation and ends the marriage legally.
  2. Legal separation is temporary. In case of legal separation the spouses agree to separate. The marriage is intact and the couple formally agrees to live separately. Legal separation does not end a marriage, but it may end staying of a couple together. A legal separation is a form of a legally binding consent decree and hence is termed as judicial separation.

Differences regarding obtaining separation and divorce:

  1. A legal separation occurs when the spouses reduce their agreement regarding the separation to a formal legal document. This is known as separation document or agreement. The agreement is filed in the court and includes provisions regarding child custody. Child support, visitation, assets, spousal support, etc.
  2. A divorce is a formal court action and may involve a trial and court motions in order to be complete.

Reasons for separation and divorce:

  1. There is a difference in the reasons for legal separation and divorce. The grounds for legal separation can be anything. The most common reason to seek legal separation is to make arrangements as to who will pay what bills, property, financial support, etc.
  2. The reasons for divorce is to be accepted by the court and vary. In many states the parties or one of them should be signed.

Issues of legal separation and divorce:

  1. In case of legal separation the court files an agreement and executes it as a formal and legal document. The contents of the document are decided by the spouses and it could be anything they prefer.
  2. In case of divorce, the different issues are reviewed by the court and these are related to child support, child custody, alimony, etc.

Forms for legal separation and divorce:

  1. You can create your own papers for separation and divorce. You can get forms from legal stationary stores and online sites that offers forms. The forms used for legal separation are called as separation agreement forms.
  2. The divorce forms include the petition for divorce, notice of motion of divorce and others.

Benefits from legal separation and divorce

Benefits of legal separation

  1. Couples get time apart from conflict of marriage to decide if they really want divorce
  2. Retain the marital status for religious beliefs
  3. Medical benefits as a family and other benefits like Social Security Benefits
  4. Legal separation agreement can be converted into a divorce settlement agreement

Benefits of divorce

  1. There are more problems in case of divorce than the benefits and the cons far outweigh the pros.
  2. You get a fresh start
  3. Possibility of finding someone you can be happy with if you no longer love your partner
  4. Getting out of a stressful and negative environment


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