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How does legal separation compare to divorce?

You and your spouse may have decided that your relationship has come to an end and that it's time to move on. You may also be wondering exactly how you should tackle your impending split. Should you get a divorce mediator? Is divorce even the right option?

It's not the only option, at least. FindLaw takes a look at the difference between divorce and legal separation, a lesser known but equally valid option for people like you who have come to the end of a relationship. Divorce is good for those who want to remarry or who want to completely sever ties with their soon-to-be ex-spouse.

However, there are some situations where you might not want to legally end your relationship. For example, some religions disallow divorce after marriage. You would also lose all of your shared benefits, which can be damaging especially if you're an older couple who was relying on the possibility of a shared retirement savings.

Legal separation could be the answer if you're in a situation like that. It allows you to split up from your partner, including creating child support payments, visitation schedules, and so on. You can live as far away as you want, as well, since legal separations are generally assumed to be permanent. At the same time, though, you don't actually sever your marriage. You can still share benefits, and you will still legally remain married.

If this option looks desirable to you, you may want to contact an attorney to see if it's feasible. It can certainly help couples who are looking for specific things from their split.

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