What does a legal separation entail? Learn about every step of the process as we explain the difference between being legally separated and getting divorced.

Up to half of all marriages in the United States end in divorce.

When you hear of a couple separating, your mind already jumps to the divorce process. But, in reality, some couples opt for a legal separation instead of a divorce. These two processes are similar, but also have different meanings in the court of law.

But what are the differences between being legally separated and being divorced? Keep reading to find out.

What Does It Mean to Be Legally Separated?

First, what is a legal separation? By definition, a legal separation is remaining married, but living apart. Legal separation is used as an alternative to divorce.

While you could act as separated without going through the legal process, there are some benefits to going this route. Through the legal separation process, you and your spouse file agreements on your living situation, financial support, and child custody. This way, everything is legal and binding and these agreements must be upheld.

A legal separation can be used as a time to work on your marriage and any issues within it. At the end of your legal separation, you can dissolve the separation to remain married or begin the divorce process.

Some people choose to treat legal separation as they would divorce. The benefit of this is if you practice a religion where divorce is prohibited. Some couples also see benefits of legal separation when it comes to things like child custody, health insurance, and financial obligations.

What Does It Mean to Be Divorced?

On the other hand, a divorce is defined as the termination of a marriage through the courts.

During this process, a Divorce Lawyer helps you legally dissolve your marriage. You and your spouse will come to agreements on issues like child custody and support and who takes possession of certain assets. If an agreement cannot be made, then a divorce can be taken in front of a judge who will make a ruling on the case.

After a divorce is final, you and your former spouse are now able to get remarried to other people.

It’s important to know that in some states, you have to have a legal separation period before you are granted an official divorce.

Legal Separation vs Divorce: Choosing the Right Option

Now that you know the difference between being legally separated and being divorced, it’s time to choose the right option for you and your spouse.

If there is any possibility that you and your spouse may reconcile your relationship in the future, you’ll want to choose legal separation. In addition, a legal separation can be best if there are any religious or financial reasons to remain together. But, if your relationship is truly over and there are no benefits of remaining married, you should start the process of divorce.

Once you decide which option is best, it’s time to begin the filing process. Browse the rest of this site for legal help to get you through this hard time.