Overview of Separation
Sometimes couples want to separate but do not want to divorce. Common reasons that people may seek separation instead of a divorce are:
- Religious reasons
- Not ready to go through a divorce
- To keep medical benefits
A separation (also known as "separate maintenance") case addresses all the same issues involved in a divorce, except the parties do not actually get divorced. At the end of the case, the parties will have final custody orders, support orders, and property and debts will be divided. However, when the case is over, the parties will still be legally married.
A separation does not stop either spouse from asking for a divorce in the future. However, a new divorce case may need to be filed.
The court process and issues involved in a separate maintenance case are generally very similar to divorces. You can File for Separate Maintenance Together if both spouses are in full agreement, or you can File On Your Own if your spouse will not sign the papers.