What’s the Difference Between Legal Separation & Divorce?

You and your spouse have decided that you no longer can live together, but you are unsure about the way forward.

Legal separation?  Divorce?  You do not know what the difference is or how to do either.

In this article, we briefly talk about each of them and help you better understand the way forward.

Difference Between Legal Separation and Divorce

There are three main differences between a legal separation and a divorce.

  1. No waiting period: When you get a divorce, there is a waiting period before the court can grant a divorce. You do not have to wait a year to get a decree of legal separation.
  2. Ability to remarry: Unlike with divorce, when you are legally separated, you cannot remarry. You probably should not even date, in fact.  Being legally separated does not dissolve your marriage, and it is illegal to be married to more than one person in any state.
  3. Insurance: If you are legally separated, you can remain on each other’s employer-sponsored health insurance. Again being legally separated, you are still considered legally married.

More About Legal Separation in South Carolina

In South Carolina, there technically is no such thing as a “Legal Separation,” at least by that term.  Instead, the idea that best fits what most think about as a legal separation are Orders of Separate Maintenance and Support.  These orders cover specific issues of interest to both spouses including child custody concerns as well as shared assets and debts.

To establish Orders of Separate Maintenance and Support you should work with an attorney to help you frame and if necessary negotiate the different pieces, you will need to be covered within them.  Contentious issues can be ruled upon through mediation or trial.

When the orders become effective, you are still married.  This is important to recognize as you might complicate the whole separation and divorce if you choose to date someone else while you’re still married.  You should reach out to your attorney to discuss these risks.

About Divorce in South Carolina

When you file for and get a divorce, you are dissolving your marriage. In South Carolina, the process for your divorce, and in particular the legal requirements for divorce, are dependent upon several factors, including fault and contention.  If you need more information about how you should proceed with a divorce, please contact our team today!

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