There are major differences between a legal separation and divorce in how the status of the marriage is defined. Divorcing is the most concrete separation you can get. On the other hand, some prefer separation, for reasons such as wanting to think about the divorce, wanting some time away from each other, because of religious reasons, or sometimes because of financial concerns. There are more details to note and more facts to share. Hopefully this guide can lead you to a better understanding of divorce and separation law.
The Complex Laws
If you look into your state laws on how separation is used, you might spend hours reading information and still be confused on the process. For example, in Illinois, you have such complex wording and interpretation of the laws that it can get confusing. You must live apart to be legally separated in Illinois, but if you are applying for the separation, there are certain fault laws which can damage your case. The laws are different from state to state, making a divorce lawyer experienced in your state laws essential in ensuring a fair separation.
The Trial Separation
The trial separation is different from a divorce in that you both are living apart for a "test period," where debts created, accounts open, and assets sold can still be jointly owned. For example, you decide to separate from your husband, and you both work, but you get paid more. If your husband creates a debt, you can legally be held responsible. Of course, it does not always happen that way if the separation is better handled, but that's one disadvantage of the trial separation. If you divorce, you can take action to close joint accounts and limit your liability.
If you are living apart, state laws differ on any joint debts and accounts. Some states have better protection for you if a spouse creates a debt. On the other side, some states keep debts and money tied together until you get an official divorce.