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Separation? Divorce? What's the difference?

What is the difference in separation and divorce? Can I do one without the other? Tell me how to file a legal separation!

Legal Separation

A legal separation is the first step in divorce, in a lot of cases. The couple is still married during a separation, which allows them to live separately while still keeping all legal rights to property, child custody or any other agreements you may have. This also allows them to keep their health care and other rights in place.

Steps to Legal Separation

Here are the steps you will take to acquire a legal separation:

  • You and your spouse will want to figure out why you're separating: incurable insanity or irreconcilable differences that have caused an irremediable breakdown of the marriage.

  • Fill out a Form FL-100 Petition

  • If you have children under 18, you will need to complete Form FL-105/GC-120.

  • Have your forms reviewed by a family law attorney

  • File Form FL-100 at your local county court and pay any necessary fees.

  • Serve your spouse with a copy of the court papers. There are various ways this can be completed – either through a lawyer or a process server.

It's very important to know that in divorce proceedings, it's in your best interest to obtain a divorce or family law attorney. Divorces can get tricky and difficult very quickly! All of the information provided above, can be explained in great detail to you by an attorney!

Legal Protection

Many people choose to go through with a legal separation as a way to protect themselves during the separation.This is a great way to make sure that everything during the separation is in black and white. Nobody is confused or wondering what the details are.This legally binding agreement decides all aspects of a marriage, including: child support and visitation, property division, and spousal support.Even if you don't actually end up getting divorced down the road after the separation, it's important to protect yourself every step of the way.


Legal separation does not mean the termination of the marriage like divorce does. Both spouses are still considered as legally married.

Formal Agreement

IF you and your spouse have decided on a legal separation, you should have an attorney draw up the agreement, that way it is legal and binding. This will also hold up in court if you need it to.

What is included in a legal separation agreement?
  • Spousal Support

  • Benefits

  • Home

  • Joint Accounts

  • Protection from Acquired Debt

Working with a family law attorney can be a great asset to you during this difficult time. Make sure you have all your bases covered, and speak with someone from Ashmore and Ashmore today!

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