What is Legal Separation?
A legal separation allows a married couple to divide their affairs while remaining legally married. There is no minimum or maximum amount of time that the couple must remain separated. Because the couple’s marriage is not technically terminated in a legal separation, they can continue to reap some of the benefits of marriage, like shared insurance coverage.
What is Divorce?
When a couple divorces, their marriage is legally terminated. Nearly half of marriages end in divorce, so almost everyone knows at least a little bit about them. A divorce is stereotypically a drawn out legal battle over assets and time with the children, but can be resolved through mediation or be amicable and uncontested. Arizona is a no-fault divorce state, so a spouse may file for divorce for any reason. The most commonly cited reason for divorce is the catchall “irreconcilable differences.”
What are the Main Differences between Legal Separation and Divorce?
The obvious difference between legal separation and divorce is that a couple remains legally married after a separation. This also means that you can remarry after a divorce, but not after a legal separation. If a couple divorces, they will have to officially remarry if they change their minds, while a separation is only temporary.
How are Legal Separation and Divorce Similar?
In both separation and divorce, the couple must divide assets and debts and address custody issues. Because of this, separation and divorce take similar amounts of time to complete. You also will probably want to hire an attorney to represent you during both a separation and a divorce to ensure that you receive your fair share of assets and parenting time. You will live separately from your spouse after either procedure. Child and spousal support may be ordered during a separation and divorce as well. Arizona is a community property state, meaning that both spouses have a right and obligation to all assets and debts acquired during the marriage. The community property relationship between the spouses terminates after both divorce and separation.