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Ask GRGB Law: Divorce vs. Separation

Posted on in Divorce

DivorceWhat is the difference between a divorce and a legal separation?

In essence, a divorce is a legal end to a marriage contract, while a legal separation involves many of the same legal proceedings as divorce, however, the two parties involved are not divorced at the end of the proceedings and are prohibited to re-marry another person. In both actions the court will order the division of marital property, decide maintenance (alimony) issues and issues involving children such as custody, placement (visitation) and child support.

A legal separation is granted by the courts when the marital relationship is deemed broken. Many people choose legal separation because of personal or religious beliefs that do not allow divorce. In cases where one person is not in favor of the divorce, the court will determine whether a judgment of legal separation or a judgment of divorce is granted.

Once a judgment of legal separation has passed the term of one year, it can be converted into a divorce by the agreement of both parties or the request of one of the parties. Once either party has requested the conversion the court is required to convert the judgment of legal separation to a judgment of divorce even if the other party objects. Furthermore, the separation can also be revoked if the parties have reconciled their relationship.

Legal separation and divorce are both very complicated and emotionally charged situations. It is always wise to go into these proceedings with a qualified attorney. If you require legal assistance in the matters of divorce or legal separation, please feel free to contact the team at GRGB.

Gimbel, Reilly, Guerin & Brown, LLP

330 East Kilbourn Avenue
Suite 1170
Milwaukee, WI 53202

Phone: 414-271-1440
Fax: 414-271-7680
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