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What Is the Difference Between Legal Separation and Divorce?

Last updated 6 years ago

Over the decades, the divorce process has come a long way in both legal and social respects. Matrimonial laws have been established to protect spouses from suffering unfair conditions following a divorce. If you are contemplating a divorce, it is important that you understand all of its legal and emotional implications. Before you decide to pursue a divorce, consider whether a legal separation is better suited for your circumstances:

What Is a Legal Separation?

The main point of difference between a legal separation and a divorce is that your marriage will not be terminated. You will remain legally married to your spouse while you are living apart. However, the same issues that you would address during a divorce will also be discussed during your separation. Matters of child custody, spousal support, and the division of assets are each considered in a separation agreement. The separation agreement may be carried over to your divorce settlement in the event that you want to terminate your marriage.

Why Would I Pursue a Legal Separation?

While a legal separation essentially allows you to carry on with life as if you were divorced, there are many reasons why you may prefer it to a complete dissolution of marriage. A legal separation can ultimately help you decide whether divorce is what you truly want. If you are conflicted about an issue in your marriage, a legal separation can give you the time to reflect on the future of your relationship. Other practical advantages, such as the retention of medical benefits, may keep you from filing for a divorce. Legal separation is also important to couples who have religious beliefs that conflict with the notion of divorce.

Schedule a consultation with Moreno Family Law if you are concerned about your divorce options. Our lawyers practice in a wide range of family law issues in San Jose, from child custody to spousal support issues. Visit us online or call (408) 266-9011.


The materials available at this website are for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. You should contact your attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue or problem. Use and access to this website or any of the links contained within the site do not create an attorney-client relationship. The opinions expressed at or through this site are the opinions of the individual author and may not reflect the opinions of the firm or any individual attorney.


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