Separation & Divorce: What’s the Difference?

Written by Carpenter Family Law On June 1, 2017

Any situation involving a family lawyer can be confusing and stressful on the entire family.

And if you’re stuck deciding between a separation or divorce, you may be left feeling overwhelmed.

In order to make a proper decision, it is important to understand both the legal and emotional effects of both possibilities.

Separation vs. Divorce

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Upon first glance, divorce and separation seem very similar.

Both a divorce and separation create a space between your spouse, you live separately, your finances are separated, and child custody, support, and division of marital assets and debts are divided.

But once you dig deeper, there are some key differences between the two that will sway your decision.

The key difference between separation and divorce is:

  • When you divorce, your marriage is formally ended, and you are free to remarry
  • When you separate, you remain legally married to each other, you cannot remarry, and you still have the rights to inherit from one another if there is no proper signed Separation Agreement in place.

Why separation?

There are many factors that go into choosing separation over divorce, or vice versa.

However, it all comes down to personal preference.

  • Some people have religious beliefs that disallow divorce, so separation allows them to remain married while still being able to live separate lives
  • When you are separated, your relationship continues to a certain extent, so you can remain connected to each other, if you wish
  • You will still be eligible and entitled to certain benefits from your spouse, such as pensions or retirement funds or health benefits.

Breathing room

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If your relationship is rocky at the moment, that does not mean it will always be that way.

A separation can be a stopping point on the way to divorce, which allows a couple to resolve all the important issues in their lives while allowing them time to figure out what they truly want.

Key takeaways to remember:

  • A separation is reversible
  • A divorce is not (unless you get remarried)

Get more information

Divorce and separation are both large commitments that will affect the entire family.

Be sure to take the time to consider which feels more comfortable to you, prior to making a decision.

Sometimes it can help to speak with a lawyer about a separation or divorce, so here is a FREE 30-minute consultation to help you weigh your options.

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