Sometimes people will want to seek a legal separation for personal or religious reasons because they are not officially “divorced.”
This is not a trial separation period. Unlike divorce, it requires consent of both parties. If there is a lack of consent, then the other party may seek a divorce.
Legal separations provides a lot of the same relief as in a divorce, but there are some differences. For example, the tax code provides certain exceptions to dividing IRA’s in a divorce, but these exceptions don’t apply in a legal separation. Another difference from a divorce is that there is no waiting period to seek a legal separation.
The court can order support obligations and division of community property, but after entry of the judgment there is no further community property or spousal duty of care or support.
The primary difference from a divorce is that in a legal
separation the marital status is not terminated. In divorce once marital status is terminated, the dependent spouse is removed from the other spouses health insurance. A legal separation preserves the status of marriage while dividing other property. This allows health insurance benefits to continue.
However, if either party decides they want to get remarried, then they will have to file again for a divorce in order to sever the marital status. As a result, legal separation is generally not advisable unless both parties know that they are not going to get remarried.