Legal separation is essentially the same as divorce and costs the same. The only real difference is, with a legal separation, you are still legally married. In a legal separation, the parties involved divide assets, debts, property, determine child custody, child support, and alimony. Legal separation is often confused with a separation. In a separation, the parties live separate lives without court involvement. This is frequently done on a trial basis before proceeding to a divorce.

Pros & Cons of Legal Separation

A legal separation is an option for individuals who, for religious or other reasons, do not want to be divorced. Often it can be used if one spouse needs to remain on the insurance of the other. There are several pros and cons of a legal separation, as outlined below.


  • In the state’s eyes, the parties remain legally married and can maintain some of the benefits of marriage, such as health insurance.
  • Individuals who do not believe in divorce for religious or personal reasons are able to remain true to their beliefs without having to remain in an unhealthy situation.


  • The parties go through the entire process but do not have the finality of a divorce.
  • If either party wants a divorce in the future, the parties will have to complete the divorce process, including paying all fees that go along with it.
  • Parties are unable to get married to other people in the future without first getting a divorce.