What Are the Major Differences and Similarities Between Divorce and Separation?

When considering separation or divorce, many people don’t know the differences between the two. In order to make an informed decision, however, it’s useful to know what makes a divorce different from a separation, as well as what similarities divorce and separation share.

1. The State of the Marriage

When you are separated from a spouse, you are no longer considered a married person. However, separation is not the same as divorce. A divorce is the legal separation of a once-married couple, whereas a separation can be seen as being somewhere between marriage and divorce. Though you can remarry after your divorce, you cannot legally remarry when separated.

2. Living Arrangements

In order to be considered as separated from your spouse, many states often require you to live in a separate location from your spouse for a certain period of time. This timespan can vary widely from state to state, so it’s important to know what your state requires. However, in order to file for a divorce, you do not necessarily have to be separated, and some people do live in the same home after a divorce for a period of time.

3. Custody Arrangements

Though many people know that custody arrangements are a part of divorce for families that include children, people often don’t realize that custody agreements are also part of separation. If you are legally separated from your spouse, then you still must come to a legally binding agreement about custody of your children. Just as is the case in divorce, alimony and property division are also often involved in the process of separation.

Choosing to separate or divorce from your spouse can be a difficult decision. However, understanding how the state of your marriage, living arrangements and custody agreements change during separation and divorce can help you to make the best decision for yourself and for your family.