The Difference Between Legal Separation and Divorce


When a marriage hits a bump in the road, spouses do not have to choose to cut the cord entirely by moving forward with a divorce. In some cases, spouses can opt for legal separation. While legal separation and divorce have many things in common, they also have some profound differences, so it is crucial to understand them before choosing which path to choose.

Understanding the Differences and Similarities

There are many reasons why couples may choose to legally separate instead of divorce and many of these reasons are what also make legal separation and divorce so vastly different.

Below are some of the differences between legal separation and divorce:

  • When spouses are legally separated, they can retain health care and other benefits through their spouse.
  • Legal separation makes it easier for spouses to reconcile. However, if you get a divorce and choose to reconcile, you will have to remarry if you wish to make your reunion legal. Legally separated spouses cannot marry new partners since they are still married to each other.
  • If spouses are legally separated, they can continue to retain legal rights to property benefits if either spouse dies. In a divorce, these rights are terminated.

Below are some of the similarities between legal separation and divorce:

  • One spouse will still have to pay spousal support to help maintain the standard of living.
  • Spouses must still share custody of their children and work out a visitation schedule.
  • Spouses must still divide property.

If you are still unsure which of these options is appropriate for you, consult with an experienced family law attorney to choose the best path forward.

Reach Out to Our Compassionate Family Law Team to Learn More About Your Options!

If you are having problems with your marriage and considering the prospect of getting a divorce or legally separating, you should not hesitate to speak to an attorney as soon as possible. At the Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Graff, our skilled family law attorney has more than three decades of experience and is committed to helping families navigate some of the most difficult cases as smoothly as possible. You can rely on us to create personalized strategies and solutions to achieve your unique goals and protect your interests.

Call our law office today at (805) 633-4999 to set up a free initial consultation to learn more about our services and how we can assist you during this trying time.

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