Legal separation is very similar to a dissolution. The court will enter orders for all the same issues as it would in a dissolution, including parenting plan, child support, and property / debt division. There are some differences, however. Most people choose a legal separation as opposed to a dissolution for religious reasons. With a decree of legal separation, your marriage is not dissolved so neither party can legally remarry unless the decree is first converted to a decree of dissolution. Also, the Social Security Administration does not recognize a decree of legal separation in figuring out benefits.

If either spouse wants to convert a decree of legal separation to a decree of dissolution, he or she can do so after waiting six months after the decree of legal separation is signed by the judge. This publication does not discuss all of the differences between legal separation and dissolution; you should consult a lawyer with specific questions about the difference. If either spouse wants a dissolution instead of separation, the court will grant a dissolution.

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Other Family Law Areas When a Couple Splits

Click on any image below to view other family law areas when a couple splits.