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For example, Social Security benefits are available to spouses if their marriage lasts for at least 10 years.The major difference between divorce and legal separation is that legal separation does not dissolve a marriage.But whereas divorce is final, legal separation offers most of the same benefits--plus a few extra--and the added flexibility of possible reconciliation.Legal separation requires the filing of a petition for legal separation in a state court.Both legal separation and divorce are used to recognize an unsuccessful marriage.Both use the authority of the court to divide the spouses' property, separate each other from certain debts and establish alimony, child support payments and child custody.One reason couples avail themselves of legal separation instead of divorce is because divorce carries a stigma in their religion or is against their moral values.Going through a divorce would, in some way, carry negative implications.

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The relationship has not completely severed, but emotionally you are far apart.Therefore, spouses who are only legally separated cannot remarry without getting a formal divorce.This has the potential benefit of making it fairly easy for the couple to reconcile and continue their life together as married spouses, if they desire, without having to go through the marriage process again. Legal separation, however, is not the same as trial separation, which only involves a physical separation but not an intervention of the court to divide the couple's assets and liabilities.There are some common-sense guidelines you can follow, though.For example, if you are in counseling together, it is best to refrain from dating others until counseling concludes and you have a final decision about your relationship.”Being separated usually means no longer living in the same household--often temporarily.

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