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Separation vs. Divorce

Herrig & Vogt Dec. 31, 2014

Divorce has an undeniable ring of finality to it that many couples are simply not prepared to accept, at least not yet, and that’s okay. Legal separation is a viable option for those struggling to come to terms with being officially divorced from their spouse.

But before you choose one or the other, you should be aware of the difference between the two and what they’ll mean for your marriage, your property, and your children in the long run. The more informed your decision, the more confident you can feel with the outcome.

The biggest difference between the two is that legal separation does not permanently end your marriage. Whereas divorce is a lasting decree, legal separation is much more temporary and does not include all of the ramifications of a divorce.

Does Legal Separation Have Benefits that Divorce Does Not?

This depends on what your end goals are. If you already know that you no longer want to be married to your spouse, then there is generally no reason to prolong the decision by legally separating. However, for those that are still unsure, legal separation is an excellent way to have space from your spouse you need to decide what you really want.

Typically, separations last for a year, but in some cases may go on for longer than this. Couples that decide to get a divorce after their separation can file an amended petition with the court that will alter the papers.

You should also note that a separation does allow you to ask the court for orders regarding child support, alimony, custody, and domestic violence restraining orders.