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From The Experts

We've gathered knowledgeable, dedicated divorce experts from a variety of fields to lend their advice and perspectives. Our experts include lawyers, healthcare professionals, certified professionals, and everyday women with insight into the topics that will help you stay empowered.

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A legal separation and divorce are more similar than different. In fact, except for a few key points they are almost the same. The difference is in the legal standard one must meet to obtain a legal separation or divorce and the relief you get from either. Even then, the difference only has to do with whether or not the marriage continues.

All states have legal standards a couple has to meet in order to divorce. You have your no-fault states in which anyone can divorce, reason or no reason. Then you have New York State, which still requires grounds for divorce.

In the end, a divorce simply means that the state you live in recognizes that your marriage is broken and can’t be fixed.

A court can grant a legal separation if “irreconcilable differences between the parties have caused a temporary or unlimited breakdown of the marriage.” A legal separation suspends the marriage whereas a divorce ends the marriage.

The relief offered by a legal separation or a divorce is, again, quite similar and in some situations exactly the same. In cases of legal separation and divorce, most state courts can make provisions for:

1. Child Support

2. Child Custody

3. Visitation

4. Division of Marital Property

5. Spousal Support

6. The Marital Home

7. Health Insurance Benefits

8. Life Insurance

In essence, the difference between a legal separation and a divorce will depend on your state’s standards for handling each. In most cases, if all you want is a legal separation, you will get the relief you need until you are able to make the decision to divorce.


Related Content:

Legal Separation, The Alternative You're Looking For?

Legal Separation or Trial Separation, 9 Key Issues to Consider

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Leave a comment


  • Comment Link Marianne Saturday, 23 August 2014 16:37 posted by Marianne

    When I file with the court for a legal separation in the state of Arizona can my spouse get any money I receive from a settlement after the filing? Thank you for your time

  • Comment Link Kim Monday, 10 March 2014 10:16 posted by Kim

    My parents are divorced

  • Comment Link Michelle cole Tuesday, 25 February 2014 20:48 posted by Michelle cole

    I am applying for a legal seperation but want to know what happens if my husband doesn't agree to it. Will he be able to stay at our home or will he be made to move out?

    He has refused to leave in the past and refuses to try a trial seperation. I have 6 children ages ranging from 2 to 12. Will we be made to leave?

    Many thanks
    M cole

  • Comment Link Louna Wednesday, 18 December 2013 19:47 posted by Louna

    I need to file a divorce but my husband doesn't agree to sign any paper. What to do in this case? We have four children under 18,but no assets, no life insurance, no housing together or anything like that.

  • Comment Link Phillius Thursday, 26 September 2013 20:04 posted by Phillius

    So this wouldn't or would be controlled by lawyers.

  • Comment Link Guest Wednesday, 19 December 2012 11:24 posted by Guest

    Florida is a "no fault": Florida is a "no fault" state. However, legal separation can be an option for those couples who want to wait it out and not totally committed to ending the marriage.