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What is legal separation?

Although legal separation and divorce are similar in some ways, there are a variety of differences to be aware of.

Most importantly, with a legal separation, the two people are still married. With a divorce, however, the marriage is ended permanently.

Generally speaking, a legal separation is a court order that outlines the duties and rights of both individuals while they remain married but living apart.

Just the same as a divorce, the court will make a variety of key decisions during a legal separation proceeding. These can pertain to the following:

  • Separation maintenance, which is much the same as child support and alimony
  • Child custody, such as who any children will live with
  • Child visitation, for the parent who is not living with the children
  • Property division

While some couples are able to go through the process of legal separation without much hassle, others find that they are arguing over every last detail. For instance, both parents may want their children to live with them, which can cause issues.

Some people take advantage of legal separation, as this gives them time to work things out with their spouse. Others soon find that there is no point in continuing down the same path, thus taking legal separation the extra step and filing for divorce.

If legal separation is something you want to consider, don't hesitate to learn more about the process and your rights. The more you learn, the easier it is to decide if it's best for you. Many couples find that a legal separation is just what their marriage needs.

Source: FindLaw, "Legal Separation vs. Divorce," accessed Nov. 17, 2017

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