Legal Separation or Divorce?
April 4, 2022 at 9:00 PM
by Amanda
Legal Separation or Divorce?

Let's start by defining terms. Being separated is not the same as having a legal separation. Being separated means that your marriage has fallen apart and you and your spouse are not living as spouses or partners. However, until a judge sees the case, you remain married. That means even if you live 10,000 miles apart, you are still creating marital property and marital debt. Marital property and assets means things, like paychecks, cars, clothes - basically anything that is created while you are married. Collectively, all of these things - all the new money into your life and your debts - are called the marital estate if you are married. It does not matter who made it, where they deposited it, or who incurred the bill, its ALL part of the marital estate unless one of the statutory exceptions applies.

A legal separation is a judgment signed by a judge that dissolves the marital estate but not the marriage. This means that you may no longer have marital property, but you remain married. This also has consequences for things like taxes, insurance, and social security. For example, if you are receiving social security benefits as a spouse, you may no longer be able to after a legal separation. You may or may not be able to stay on your spouse's insurance - each insurance company is different.

One other difference between a divorce and a legal separation is that you cannot remarry until you have had a divorce. And if you reconcile with your spouse, you have to have the legal separation set aside. If, however, you decide that your relationship is 100% hopeless and you want to marry someone else, you have to actually get divorced.

A divorce or dissolution of marriage is much more final. It severs the relationship between spouses. It divides the marital estate and defines who gets the bank accounts, cars, and pets. If you have childrne, it defines you rongoing parenting relationship too. If you decide later that you want to get married again, you can.

My office does both Legal Separations and Divorces. The price is the same, as they involve the same work. If your marriage is breaking or broken, I would love to see if I am the right lawyer to help you. Reach out to my office to get started.

divorce, dissolution of marriage, judgment of legal separation, marital property, marital estate, social security, insurance, remarrying