Legal separation is much different than an informal separation where the couple may simply live apart. The court uses legal separation as a tool to determine the responsibilities and rights of each spouse. This is done without dissolving the marriage. Many of the same issues that are addressed in a divorce are addressed by the court in a legal separation. For instance, one spouse may have to pay spousal support to the other. If children are involved, child support may be paid to the custodial parent.
Other issues that may be addressed include:
- Use of the marital home
- Use of marital assets
- How income taxes will be filed
- Child custody
- Parenting time
- Medical insurance for the children
Once legal separation is established, the couple lives apart as if they are divorced without actually going through a divorce. If the couple decides to reconcile later, they can do so.