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Legal separation versus divorce in Minnesota

There undoubtedly isn’t a married couple in Minnesota who have not encountered challenges in their relationship. However, issues that spark contention between spouses may be quite different in one household than they are in another. You might be able to relate to those whose marital problems have piqued to the point that one or the other spouse is thinking it might be best to move on in life without each other. Some spouses file for legal separation, while others obtain a divorce.

Don’t make the mistake of thinking these legal processes are one in the same; they are not. In this state, there are distinct differences between the two. It’s important to review state laws so that you understand those differences and can determine which route best fits your needs and goals.

Primary difference between legal separation and divorce

Whether you and your spouse legally separate, which Minnesota law refers to as a “judicial separation,” or file for divorce, issues of concern might include things like alimony or property division. For example, will one of you be keeping the house you have shared during marriage? If you are parents, you must, of course, achieve terms of agreement regarding your children. However, there is one big difference between judicial separation and divorce.

If the court grants you a divorce, you are no longer legally married to your spouse. On the contrary, if you obtain a decree of legal separation, you are still married but living apart. The legal implications of both processes can be vastly different, so you’ll want to make sure you understand what you’re agreeing to before signing anything.

Do you hope to restore your relationship at some point?

Determining whether to pursue a legal separation or divorce may be easier if you ask yourself this question: Do I hope to get back together with my spouse after a period of timehas passed? If your answer is “Yes,” then you might want to legally separate. When your goal is to adapt to a new lifestyle that is permanently separate from your spouse, filing for divorce would be the more logical choice.

Finalizing a divorce typically takes longer than separating. Also, if you would decide to try to restore your relationship after already obtaining a divorce decree, you would have to get remarried. Following a judicial separation, you would simply need to reunite with your spouse because you would still legally be spouses under Minnesota law. It’s helpful to seek counsel if you’re unsure which option best fits your needs.