Legal Separation Definition and Legal Meaning

On this page, you'll find the legal definition and meaning of Legal Separation, written in plain English, along with examples of how it is used.

What is Legal Separation?

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History and Meaning of Legal Separation

Legal separation occurs when a married couple voluntarily or by court order lives apart from one another but remains legally married. It is often used as a step before obtaining a divorce or as an alternative to divorce for couples that have religious or personal objections to a complete dissolution of the marriage. Legal separation involves the division of assets, responsibilities for debts, child custody, visitation, alimony, and child support.

Examples of Legal Separation

  1. Amy and John decided to separate legally for a year to see if they could reconcile their differences and save their marriage. They agreed on the terms of division of their property, debts, and responsibilities for their children.
  2. After many years of struggling to keep their marriage intact, Jane and Tom decided to legally separate as they did not want to obtain a divorce due to religious beliefs. They sought the assistance of a mediator to work out the terms of child support and custody, alimony, and property division.
  3. Lisa and Mark were legally separated for several years after a disagreement about Mark's job had driven a wedge between them. They lived separately but still remained legally married until they eventually reconciled.

Legal Terms Similar to Legal Separation

  1. Divorce - a legal termination of the marriage.
  2. Annulment - a legal procedure that declares a marriage null and void.
  3. Separation agreement - a legal contract that sets out the terms and conditions of separation between the parties.
  4. Mediation - a voluntary process where a neutral third party helps couples reach an agreement.
  5. Family court - a court that handles family-related disputes and issues, such as divorce, custody, and adoption.