Divorce vs. Legal Separation

Understanding the difference between divorce and legal separation

When a couple gets married they intend to spend the rest of their lives together. However, things don’t always work out the way they planned and they find that they are not as compatible as they thought they were. There is a certain amount of responsibility and commitment required in marriage and over time one or both of the partners find that they do not want to continue in this fashion any longer. When they find that they are not getting along very well together they do have options open to them – legal separation, divorce or annulment. There is a difference in the process involved for all three. This article will highlight the difference between divorce and legal separation.

A divorce refers to the termination of the marriage. In the legal system, this is the final step in the process that results in the marriage being dissolved. By the time a couple reaches this stage in their relationship, they no longer have any legal rights, commitments, responsibilities or duties towards each other. They no longer have any marital status and can remarry if they wish.

It is a lot easier to obtain a divorce than an annulment. The most challenging part of the divorce proceedings applies to the custody of the children and in some cases conditions can really deteriorate as the couple fights over custody. However, the same rules and procedures for divorce do not exist in all countries where obtaining a divorce is often harder than obtaining an annulment.

A legal separation is a step below that of a divorce. It is also a much simpler process than divorce. It doesn’t have the same legal duties and obligations, but it is difficult to go through this process as well. The easy definition of legal separation is that the partners agree to stay away from each other, yet they will have to support each other and follow through on their responsibilities, such as providing for the children and paying the bills. They are still married and are therefore not permitted to remarry.

When two people take the step to get married, they should respect it for the sacred institution that it is. They should do their best to live up to the commitment they made to each other. But there are times when this is impossible to do and they have no other choice but to seek legal separation or divorce. It is essential that those who take one of these steps have complete understanding of what each process involves. It is important to hire the right lawyer for the proceedings so that no insurmountable problems will develop at a later date. It is always better to end a marriage with a friendship than a feeling of anger or hatred.