There are many differences between divorce and separation. One difference is that in order to become divorced you must obtain a Judgment of Divorce from a judge of competent jurisdiction. It is best to have an experienced attorney assist you with the filing of the documents necessary to obtain a Judgment of Divorce so that you are certain that your rights are protected and that a judge will enter a Judgment of Divorce for you.
In contrast, although not advisable, you can draft a Separation Agreement and file it with the County Clerk’s office without obtaining a Judgment of Separation from a judge of competent jurisdiction. A Separation Agreement addresses many legal issues that should be discussed with and drafted by an attorney in order to ensure that you have protected all of your legal rights. However, it is better practice to obtain a Judgment of Separation so that your rights can be better enforced in the event that one party does not abide by the terms of the Separation Agreement.
Another difference between divorce and separation is that when you become divorced you are no longer married and are therefore free to marry another person. When separated, you are still married and cannot marry another person until you become divorced.
There are other differences between divorce and separation that may pertain to you. These can be discussed in more detail in consultation with this office.