Key Differences Between Separation And Divorce

What is the Difference Between Separation and Divorce?

A marriage union can be blissful and full of love, but when love seems lost, and there's physical or emotional damage, the marriage can become unbearable. When a marriage becomes intolerable for spouses, they tend to seek to part ways either by separation or divorce. Though these two terms help couples achieve a similar goal which is to live apart, these terms also have significant differences which cannot be overlooked. 

One of the main differences between separation and divorce is that the former can be done with or without any legal involvement. Divorce, on the other hand, requires legal proceedings that divorce lawyers in Scottsdale best handle

Read on to learn more about divorce, separation, and legal separation, as well as the key difference between these terms.


Separation is the act of living apart from one’s spouse. It doesn't require court proceedings, nor does it necessarily require the expertise of a divorce lawyer. Nevertheless, when spouses separate, it'll affect some of their legal rights, like tax payments. 

Furthermore, if married couples separate, they'll need to make arrangements as regards bill payment, child support, and alimony. But most times, it can be a bit challenging for separated couples to come to terms with a uniform decision. In situations where a uniform decision can't be made, a divorce lawyer or a neutral mediator can step in and advise or guide the spouse in making suitable informal arrangements. 

However, if, after the intervention of the lawyers, the couples still can't reach common ground about child support and other shared responsibilities, a court order can be filed in such situations. These orders don't mean the separated spouses must get a divorce or legal separation; it mostly only addresses issues concerning visitation and child support.

Legal Separation

Legal separation is similar to regular separation, but it involves legal proceedings which are somewhat similar to divorce proceedings. Legal separation does not dissolve the marriage. It occurs when one spouse files a legal petition in a court seeking to live apart from the other spouse. The legal proceedings of legal separation are usually as lengthy and costly as divorce proceedings.

In addition, marital assets and liabilities will also be shared during a legal separation. Also, things like spousal support, child support, child custody, and visitation will be addressed by the court.


Divorce is the legal act of ending a marriage. It can be done by mutual consent, or one spouse can file for a divorce. If the divorce is initiated by one spouse, then the other spouse is expected to agree to the divorce for it to be finalized. Divorce proceedings usually include things like property division, spousal support, and custody arrangements. 

Also, when the divorce proceeding is finalized, the wife is authorized to return to her former name. 

The Differences Between Separation and Divorce

Marital Status

Though couples may live apart when separated, they're still legally married. This is because the marriage has not been completely dissolved by the court of law. In other words, both you and your spouse are still recognized as man and wife under the law, and as such, none of you can remarry.

On the other hand, if couples are divorced, their marriage contract has been lawfully terminated, and they are no longer seen as man and wife under the law. This means either of them is permitted to remarry.

Property rights

Under the law, married couples are authorized to take over each other's property if one of them passes on. This right remains preserved when couples are separated but terminates when the couple gets divorced.

Power of Decision making

When people get married, they often use each other as next of kin which implies that they can make critical decisions on behalf of the other. If couples separate, the power to take decisions on behalf of the other still remains. This means separated spouses can still make financial and medical decisions on behalf of each other. 

For divorced couples, once a marriage is legally divorced, either of the parties no longer has the next of kin privilege over the other. 


During divorce proceedings, the court will handle the assets division as well as the division of debts and liabilities. The court will state the party that will take responsibility for the debts and liabilities. On the other hand, separation allows the couple to handle the debt and liability payment collectively.


Benefits such as pensions, insurance, retirement, healthcare benefits, and other social security benefits remain undisturbed if a couple separates. However, when couples get divorced, they're no longer entitled to each other's social security benefits and healthcare benefits. 

To avoid the termination of marital benefits, some couples prefer to choose legal separation or separation over divorce. 


Most couples seek to get out of their marriage union because of irreconcilable differences. But sometimes, when they live separately for a while, some couples tend to figure out the best approach to rekindle love and happiness in their marriage. When separated couples figure out a way to overcome their differences, they can live together again and continue in the marriage. 

In divorce cases, once the marriage is dissolved, reconciliation becomes difficult. If divorced couples finally find a way to overlook their differences and give themselves a second chance, both parties will have to marry again. Another option for them is to cohabit, but this doesn't include the benefits that come with being legally married.

Separation Or Divorce: Which Is Better?

The circumstances surrounding your marriage will determine whether you should choose divorce or separation. Divorce may be the best course of action if the problem seems tough to fix or if past attempts to repair the marriage have failed. In addition, if the marriage becomes life-threatening, either due to physical abuse or emotional assault, divorce may also be advised.

If a couple has mild to moderate disagreements, separation is frequently advised. They can use that time to reflect and decide if their marriage can be saved.

However, it's essential to consult with a professional divorce attorney before making your decision to separate or divorce.

You can find them here;

Name, Address, and Phone

Genesis Family Law and Divorce Lawyers in Scottsdale AZ, 

7702 East Doubletree Ranch Road #336 Scottsdale AZ 85258, 





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