When the parties do not intend to initiate divorce proceedings, but wish to formally separate, it is called a legal separation.
Unlike divorce, a legal separation does not put an end to a marriage. During the separation, the parties remain legally married while choosing to live separate lives. The parties deal with all community debts and assets jointly; however, they will not obtain a divorce nor will either party revert to the status of a single person.
This option is desirable for individuals who choose not to obtain a divorce for
- religious reasons,
- family reasons,
- tax planning concerns, or
- when one spouse wants to remain covered under the other party’s health insurance plan.
Examples of issues that may be addressed in a separation agreement are
- the division of assets and debts,
- child custody and visitation schedules,
- child support, and
- spousal support.