What does Separated mean? - In this age of "no-fault divorce," a Legal Separation is very rare.  Today, when most people say they are separated from their spouse, they mean living apart without any judicial involvement at all, or possibly while a divorce is pending.  Both are incorrect.

Many years ago, a married couple could not divorce unless one spouse was at fault and the other "innocent."  Instead they could become Legally Separated which was everything but a divorce.  Property was divided, child custody and support was resolved, even alimony was usually provided.  The couple was then set free to live as single persons for all legal purposes but remarriage, although technically they were still legally obligated to remain faithful to their spouse.

Such rules no longer apply.  Adultery is no longer a criminal act and the only grounds required for a divorce are "irreconcilable differences and irretrievable breakdown" of a marriage.  That's a fancy way of saying you don't like your spouse anymore and don't get along!

Still Legal Separation exists for historical and religious purposes.  If your religious beliefs are such that divorce is not an option but have become incompatible with your spouse to such degree that living together is no longer possible, a Legal Separation might be the answer.

It is very rare, I recall only two in my career, but it can still be done.  Be warned however, once a Legal Separation has been granted, either party may ask the Court to convert the Legal Separation into a divorce, and the other spouse is powerless to stop it.

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