Difference Between Divorce and Legal Separation 

Ending a marriage is no easy decision. A divorce can dissolve a marriage, while in separation, the spouses are separated while still being legally married. 

There are many things to consider whether you are going for a divorce or a legal separation. Reaching out to a gig harbor divorce attorney can help you figure it out and deal with the entire process. 

What are divorce and legal separation? 

During a legal separation, the court mandates the rights and duties of the two people while they live apart but are still legally married. However, after a divorce, the couple is no longer legally married. Divorces are more common than legal separations, but separation can be the better option in some cases too. 

What are the key differences between a divorce and a legal separation? 

There are many things to consider before deciding whether you want to file for a divorce or a legal separation. It is essential to understand the critical differences between the two. 

  • Marital status 

One of the most significant differences is that you are still legally married during a separation. However, a divorce dissolves the marriage. Legal separation may also let you to keep your marital status. 

  • Health care benefits 

In some situations, legal separation may let you to retain some healthcare and other benefits, such as some Social Security benefits. These benefits can terminate with a divorce. 

  • Decision making 

Spouses are considered next of kin. However, since a divorce dissolves a marriage, a spouse would not be considered next of kin, which means they would not be able to make medical or financial decisions for the other person. 

  • Debts and liabilities 

If you opt for a divorce, all the debt will be handled during the dissolution process. However, with a legal separation, you may still be responsible for your spouse’s debt. 

  • Property rights 

A spouse has the legal right to the property after the death of the other spouse, and this right is still applicable after a legal separation. However, these rights are terminated with a divorce. 

  • Remarriage or reconciliation 

Reconciliation is much easier with a legal separation, as you cannot undo a divorce. With a divorce, you would have to remarry. 

  • Religious reasons 

There are instances where couples are not able to go through a divorce due to religious reasons. In such cases, a legal separation is the better option. 

  • Tax benefits 

If you are still legally married, you and your spouse can file taxes jointly, which may allow you to enjoy some tax benefits. 

Confused about legal separation versus divorce? 

If you are confused about your best option, consult a divorce attorney today and discuss your options.