divorce or legal separation

Going through a legal separation or a divorce can be a time-consuming and costly process, especially if you have a lawyer involved. Both a legal separation and divorce can actually be done without hiring a lawyer. A legal separation and divorce are very similar. According to Dartmouth University, they both distinguish “final custody, visitation, child support, and if appropriate, alimony orders.”

If you decide to opt out of hiring a lawyer, you need to know the major differences between the legal standards before you evaluate what is best for you.

Legal Separation

It’s important to not confuse legal separation with a separation. A separation is when a married couple chooses to live separately, but remain married. This process doesn’t require any legal documentation. A legal separation is when a court only suspends a marriage, and it requires you to file legal documents to be legally separated.

The rules following a legal separation vary from state-to-state, but they are still very similar to those of a divorce. One of the most evident attributes of a legal separation is that the wife cannot resume back to her previous name. By law, a couple that has gone through a legal separation is still, in fact, married. This means neither the husband nor the wife can remarry unless both parties take further legal action. The marriage is also dissolved if one member of the party faces death.

So why do couples choose to be legally separated? Sometimes religion plays a role in their decision to be legally separated instead of being divorced. Other situations involve one’s health care. In most states, a legally separated couple can share health care benefits.


When a couple is divorced their marriage is completely dissolved. Couples that cannot come to an agreement on their relationship choose to go through a divorce process. The reason for divorces varies from state-to-state, but states offer a no-fault divorce when neither party takes the blame for any wrongful acts during the marriage.

Uncontested divorce is also another divorce process in which most people choose to divorce. It is the least expensive method and it is when both parties agree on the terms of the divorce including: assets, child custody, child support and other terms.

Both parties must complete divorce documents and divide their estate accordingly. Even though the marriage is being dissolved, some couples may be eligible for spousal support, which is when one member of the party provides support to the other.

We the People can assist you with any questions you may have about preparing legal separation documents or divorce documents. Call an office near you!