Some people are at this site because as a couple they’ve decided to divorce.

They’ve talked through the issues (child custody, parenting time, division of property, spousal maintenance [if any]).

But some people are here at the beginning of this process. Maybe they’re still considering whether to seek a legal separation or a divorce. Before making that decision, it is imperative to understand the differences between separation and divorce. If this describes your situation, please read on!

Separation and legal separation are two different concepts. Separation simply means that the parties have decided to live apart. It is not necessary to file any legal paperwork to separate – either party can move out and live separately from the other spouse at any time for any reason.

Legal separation, on the other hand, requires court involvement. Not in the sense of having to go to court, but you have to file a petition with the court, just as you would with a divorce. For a legal separation, you’ll still need to work out how to arrange child custody, divide property and bills, and figure out any spousal support. Basically, you have to address most of the issues you would in a divorce. The big difference from divorce, however, is that at the completion of a legal separation, the parties are still married.

A divorce, by contrast, is a dissolution of a marriage. Just like a legal separation, a divorce action can create a parenting order, divide property, and order child or spousal support. At the conclusion of the divorce, the parties are no longer married. The parties are then free to remarry when and if they choose.

As you’ve probably realized, a legal separation action can be just as complicated and time-consuming as a divorce. After all, legal separation and divorce achieve almost all of the same goals. There are some reasons, however, why you might choose a legal separation instead of a divorce. One common reason for remaining married is religious conviction. Another common reason is financial considerations. For example, because you are still married following a legal separation, it is likely that both spouses can remain on the same health insurance policy.

At Diyvorce, our professionals have extensive experience in helping clients figure out what makes sense for them. Register today to gain access to additional information and assistance.