The Difference between Separation and Divorce


The Difference between Separation and Divorce

Summary: Separation and Divorce means the same thing or it could mean entirely different things.

For some, Separation and Divorce means the same thing. The only line that divided them is the law and it’s a mighty thin line, especially those opinions that has religious origins. But basically there’s a huge gap of difference between these two, though Legal Separation is a step next to divorce.

What is Legal Separation? Sometimes it is called Separate Maintenance, or Legally Separated. A legally separated couple is still married under the law, but the law recognizes the existing condition between the couples, which is living apart but still regulating the mutual rights, finances, and liabilities as a couple (though to a certain extent which varies from state to state). Living apart means totally living on different households, not sharing beds or sleeping quarters doesn’t count in legal separation.

So why do people go on separation when they can directly have a divorce? Separation does have its benefits. Some treat it as a tentative approach for divorce, akin to a testing stage if the household could survive without the other. This approach is called Trial Separation where both parties are still optimistic that the marriage can still be redeemed but have the need to spend some time apart. A few couples do choose trial separation as a means of recovering from a bitterness stemming from a bad incident, like infidelity. Some cases of trial separation are over religious concerns or even those conservative family mores that definitely rules out divorce. Such cases are frequent in Japan where customs of tightly knitted families consider divorce unthinkable.

Other reasons are practical. Divorces do tend to affect a number of statuses and disqualify a number of tax benefits, social benefits, even hurt credit scores and insurance qualification concerns.

Separation is different from Legal Separation. Separation is a mutual agreement reached by the couple to end cohabitation. Child rearing responsibilities and custody are still shared between the couple. The obligations and debts incurred prior to the separation should be shared equally if not given altogether to a spouse but with the consent of both. And spousal support should still be met, if there is one or if it is required in the event. Truly the only difference between separation and legal separation is that the latter had the power of the court to back it up. Mostly also, legal separation terms are usually decided with the help of lawyers.

Over the years, legal separation and divorce have a mixed and mashed meaning as the grounds for both turn out to be similar to some extent. Other couple could be divorced in mutual consensus but separated in law. If you aren’t in marrying anytime sooner, having a legal separation is another option to have than divorce because it allows you to keep the benefits of a family man.

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