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What is the difference between divorce and legal separation?

On Behalf of | Oct 12, 2021 | Family Law

In Texas, couples who no longer want to remain married have two options: divorce or legal separation. Before deciding what’s right for you and your situation, it’s important to understand the ramifications of each.

What is divorce?

Divorce is the legal process of ending a marriage. After a divorce, the two people involved typically don’t continue to share joint banking accounts nor live in the same house. If kids are involved, divorced people may work out a co-parenting custody agreement, and one party may have to remit spousal maintenance payments. Other than that, the couple is no longer legally tied to each other in any other way.

People who pick divorce over legal separation can remarry. However, the dissolution of the marriage process can be challenging, especially for contested divorces.

What is a legal separation?

Legal separation is a divorce alternative. It’s a popular option among seniors who no longer want to live together but whose finances are inextricably linked. Devoutly religious people may also opt for legal separation when their religion disapproves of divorce. Note, however, that individuals who chose this path cannot get remarried as they technically remain legally linked to their original spouse. In other words, if you find another person with whom you want to tie the knot, you cannot do so under a legal separation. Divorce is first necessary.

Not every marriage works out; people and circumstances change. Just make sure to choose the best option for your situation when ending a union. If you want to remarry, opt for divorce. If not, a legal separation may be sufficient.