What is the Difference Between Divorce and Legal Separation?

You might think the terms "divorce" and "legal separation" mean the same thing, but these are actually separate legal terms. In fact, divorce and legal separation are, in a certain sense, opposites. The main difference is that divorce legally terminates the marriage, while legal separation does not.

If a couple is legally separated, the husband and wife may function much like a divorced couple, but without the legal ramifications of an actual divorce. Some couples, for example, legally separate to maintain insurance benefits. In short, legal separation allows couples to pursue separate lives while preserving the financial advantage of being married.

Reasons to Choose Legal Separation

Couples choose legal separation for many reasons. Every marriage is different, and so is every divorce. Common reasons include:

  • Religious Beliefs
    If a couple's religious beliefs obligate them to stay married, legal separation may be a viable option.
  • Healthcare Benefits
    Unlike divorce, legal separation allows you to maintain your current healthcare benefits as a spouse.
  • Personal Reasons
    Some married couples want to spend time apart without seeking a full divorce; legal separation allows them to do this.

"Do I need an attorney for file for legal separation?"

You are not required to seek legal guidance to file for legal separation, but the process does require paperwork and some negotiation. In fact, legal separation often deals with issues that are similar to divorce. These include:

  • Child Custody
  • Visitation
  • Spousal Support
  • Child Support

With an attorney, you can seek the best separation agreement for you, you spouse, and your children. If you are considering divorce or legal separation, speak with a New York family law attorney from Eiges & Orgel, PLLC today. We offer more than 75 years of legal experience, thousands of successful cases, and the skill and perseverance that only a seasoned advocate can bring.

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