What’s the Difference Between Divorce and Legal Separation?

November 10, 2017

While many of us are aware that divorce and legal separation are different, many people are not quite sure how these two forms of separation differ.

Divorce Versus Legal Separation

If you and your spouse are having problems, you may be considering getting a divorce or legally separating. When trying to decide between these two options, it is important that you understand both their similarities and their differences. You need to know each option can benefit you as well as what the downsides are to divorce and legal separation.

The similarities between divorce and legal separation include:

  • Separate residences
  • Separate finances
  • You are eligible for court ordered spousal support, child custody, division of martial assets, child support and division of marital debt

The main difference between legal separation and divorce is that when you get a divorce, your marriage is over. With a divorce, you are free to live your life moving forward as a single person or to remarry if you like. However, if you are legally separated, then you are still considered to be married. This means, when you mark forms, you disclose that you are married. You are also not free to remarry. You can still inherit from one another. If the wife involved in a legal separation has a child, that child is considered the legal child of the other spouse unless it can be proven that the child is not the other spouse’s legal offspring.

To learn more about divorce and legal separation, or to discuss your situation with an experienced Bucks County, PA family law attorney, contact us today.