What is the Difference Between a Legal Separation and a Divorce?
A legal separation is basically the same process as filing for divorce in that the court will make decisions about the division of your debts and assets and will address such topics as child support and spousal support. However, getting a legal separation is usually quicker and less stressful because both spouses are typically cordial. They can come to agreement to the terms of the legal separation, and court involvement is usually limited or not necessary.
Once you are legally separated you will no longer be married but you will not be considered to be single either. It is important to note, that while you are legally separated, you are not divorced, and therefore you cannot remarry during this time. However, there are other benefits to the legal separation that you do not get from a divorce.
While you are legally separated, you will still be covered under your spouse’s health insurance. Unlike a legal separation, a divorce does not allow for the continuation of the health insurance coverage through your spouse’s employer.
Inheritance/Next of Kin
You’ll be able to continue to inherit from your spouse while you are legally separated. You will also still be considered the next of kin for your spouse so that you are able to make decisions such as medical or financial decisions for your spouse if necessary.
You are still entitled to your spouse’s social security and pension while legally separated.
These things are not possible when you get a divorce but they are available to you while you are legally separated. Like in a divorce, however, after you are legally separated, any debts that either one incur will be your sole responsibility and any property that you purchase, after being legally separated will be considered your sole and separate property.
Although a legal separation is less expensive than a divorce, it can end up costing you a little bit more if you later decide that you want to get a divorce. You will have paid for the legal separation and will then have to pay for the costs of a divorce as well.
I hope that this has clarified the differences between a divorce and a legal separation. If you are considering legal separation or divorce, contact our office to discuss what’s best for your specific situation with an experienced Family Law attorney. Set up a consultation by contacting our office by phone at (702) 998-1188, email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by scheduling a consultation online.