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What Is the Difference Between Legal Separation and Divorce?

Many people think a legal separation and divorce are the same thing. This is not correct. A legal separation is a court order that establishes the rights and responsibilities of a married couple while they are still living apart. This means that they will know what to do when they’re not together. They are used when the couple is trying to decide whether or not to get divorced.

Divorce VS. Legal Separation

When a couple decides to get divorced, they have to go through a legal process to end their marriage. This process is known as divorce. However, there are other options available to couples who want to separate from each other without getting a divorce. These options are known as legal separation and divorce. In this blog post, we will discuss the differences between legal separation and divorce. We will also discuss the pros and cons of each option so that you can make an informed decision about which one is right for you!

So first, what is the difference between legal separation and divorce?

  • With a legal separation, the couple remains married but lives apart from each other. They may have a legal agreement that outlines how they will handle child custody, visitation, support, and property division. However, they are still technically married and would need to go through the divorce process to completely end their marriage.
  • Divorce, on the other hand, is the legal process of ending a marriage. Once the divorce is finalized, the couple is no longer married and they do not have to live together. They will also need to create a new agreement that outlines how they will handle child custody, visitation, support, and property division.

So now that you know the difference between legal separation and divorce, which one is best for your situation? What are the costs and time commitments for each? All of this and more we will cover!

The Process Of Legal Separation

Couples who decide to legally separate will need to file a petition with the court. This petition will outline the general terms of the separation, such as child custody, visitation, support, and property division. Once the petition is filed, the couple will need to attend a hearing where a judge will review the terms of the agreement and make sure that both parties are in agreement. If the judge approves the terms of the separation, they will sign a legal document known as a decree of legal separation. This decree will outline the terms of the couple’s separation and can be used to enforce the agreement if one party decides to break it. Over time, the couple can revisit the terms of their agreement and make changes as needed. They can also choose to divorce if they feel that separation is no longer right for them.

The Pros And Cons Of Legal Separation

There are both pros and cons to legal separation. Consulting with your attorney can help you decide if it’s the right choice. However, a few of the pros include:

  • A legal separation can be less expensive than a divorce
  • You may still be eligible for health insurance through your spouse
  • Separation can provide a trial period for couples who are not sure if they want to get divorced
  • It can allow couples to remain married for religious reasons

A few of the cons include:

  • Couples who separate are still technically married, which can be confusing
  • The process of separation can be emotionally difficult
  • Couples may have a harder time getting divorced if they start by separating first

Costs Related To Legal Separation

The cost of legal separation varies from state to state. In some states, there is no fee for filing a petition for separation. In other states, the fee maybe a few hundred dollars. You will also need to pay your attorney’s fees, which can range from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars depending on the complexity of your case.

Time Commitment For Legal Separation

The time commitment for legal separation is also variable. In some states, the process can be relatively quick and couples can be legally separated within a few weeks. In other states, the process may take several months. Ultimately, the amount of time it takes to separate legally will depend on the laws of your state and the complexity of your case.

The Process Of Divorce

When a couple of files for divorce, it will be permanent. The terms of the agreement outline what each person gets through their custody and support requirements as well how much property they’re able to divide among themselves or if there are any other circumstances worth considering such an equitable distribution (which means giving something back). If both parties agree with the terms then the divorce can be uncontested, and if not then it will be a contested divorce. Once all terms are agreed upon, the couple will then file for divorce with the court. After filing, the couple will attend a hearing where a judge will review the terms of the agreement and make sure that both parties are in agreement. If the judge approves the terms of the divorce, they will sign a legal document known as a decree of divorce. This decree will outline the terms of the couple’s divorce and can be used to enforce the agreement if one party decides to break it.

The Pros And Cons Of Divorce

There are both benefits and drawbacks to divorce. Consult with your lawyer to see if it’s the right option for you. However, some of the advantages include:

  • provide a clean break for couples who can no longer get along
  • allow each person to move on with their lives
  • give each person the freedom to date or marry someone else

Some of the disadvantages include:

  • the process can be emotionally and mentally draining
  • can be costly, especially if it’s a contested divorce
  • divorce may hurt children

Costs Related To Divorce

The cost of divorce varies depending on the state you live in and whether it’s a contested or uncontested divorce. Uncontested divorces are usually less expensive because they don’t require as much court time. In some states, there may be a filing fee for divorce which can be as much as a few hundred dollars. You’ll also need to pay your attorney’s fees, which can range from a few hundred to several thousand dollars based on the complexity of your case.

Time Commitment For Divorce

The time commitment for divorce also varies depending on the state you live in and whether it’s a contested or uncontested divorce. In some states, an uncontested divorce can be finalized in as little as a few weeks. However, if it’s a contested divorce, it can take several months to a year or more to finalize. Ultimately, the amount of time it takes to get divorced will depend on the laws of your state and the complexity of your case.

Summary

While legal separation and divorce both have their own set of pros and cons, only you can decide which is the right choice for you. If you’re unsure, consult with a lawyer to learn more about your state’s laws and the process for each option. Once you’ve decided, follow the appropriate steps to file for either legal separation or divorce. Remember, the process can be lengthy and costly, so it’s important to be sure of your decision before moving forward.

I hope this article helped clear up some of the confusion surrounding legal separation and divorce. Again, put simply legal separation is when a couple is still married but living apart and divorce is when a couple officially ends their marriage. The main difference between the two is that divorce entails more paperwork, time, and money than legal separation.

Both options can be emotionally and mentally draining, so it’s important to make sure you’re ready before making any decisions. If you have children, be sure to consider their feelings and needs as well before making a decision. Ultimately, the choice is yours, so choose what’s best for you and your family.

Related Questions

What are the grounds for divorce?

The grounds for divorce vary from state to state but typically include things like adultery, desertion, or abuse. Today, it is typically easier to get a divorce for non-serious reasons as well.

What is a contested divorce?

A contested divorce is a divorce where the terms of the agreement are disputed by one or both parties. This may be the result of disagreement on things like child custody, alimony, or property division.

Can I file for divorce online?

In some states, you can file for divorce online. This is typically an uncontested divorce where both parties have already agreed to the terms of the divorce. You’ll still need to pay any filing fees associated with your state.

What is mediation and is it required before divorce?

Mediation is a process where both parties meet with a mediator to try and negotiate the terms of the divorce. It’s not required in all states, but may be ordered by a judge in some cases.

What is an annulment?

An annulment is a process where marriage is essentially voided. This means that it’s as if the marriage never happened and can be difficult to obtain. Typically this type of case occurs when there is fraud or duress involved.

– the article is sponsored by Shaffer Herring
Written By

Matt has over 10 years of legal writing experience. He's worked and written for legal websites for serval websites including Truskett Law, Bruner Law, Jeffrey & Erwin, Gary Crews, PLLC., Deposition Academy, and Wagner & Lynch.

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