Divorce and Legal Separation
The legal process for obtaining a divorce and legal separation are the same. In both, all property and debts are divided, spousal and child support are at issue, and a parenting plan is required if there are children. The major legal distinction is that a legal separation does not end the marriage, and parties may not remarry. In King County, converting a decree of legal separation to divorce requires six months to pass after the decree of legal separation is ordered. However, it is a relatively simple and inexpensive legal procedure.
Though the legal process is the same, there may be important legal and emotional issues that affect the decision to seek a legal separation rather than a divorce.
What Happens in a Divorce?
In addition to ending the marriage, a divorce action results in dividing a couple’s property and debts (i.e., property division), and determining spousal support (alimony), child support, and child custody (residential placement) arrangements if children are involved.