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Divorce and separation: what’s the difference, really?

On Behalf of | May 4, 2020 | Family Law |

No one goes into a marriage thinking it won’t work out. Still, we are human and sometimes relationships don’t last a lifetime. If you and your spouse are needing some time apart or simply don’t want to be together anymore, now is the time to understand the difference between a legal separation and a divorce in New York.

What is a legal separation?

A legal separation is typically used by couples who want to live apart, but don’t want an official divorce. In this, you will make a separation agreement with your spouse. This agreement is completed voluntarily between you and your spouse outside of court. In it, you can make decisions about child and spousal support, custody and visitation, and other details of your family life during separation. Your separation agreement can pretty easily transition into a divorce agreement, meaning that it can be a good first step.

Another reason that people may opt for separation is that it is cheaper than a full divorce. It can also help you and your spouse get some space and understand how you feel apart from one another.

How is divorce different?

When you move from legal separation to divorce, your separation agreement can either survive and “survive” and continue to be used as its own entity, or it can be merged into a divorce agreement.

The main difference between a legal separation and a divorce is that in a divorce you are no longer married. So, if you want to get married to someone new, you can. Divorce is also far more final than a legal separation. If you know that your marriage is over and are ready to separate your lives officially, it may be time for a divorce.