A Legal Separation is an alternative to a dissolution of marriage (divorce). This procedure is used when the spouses desire to go their separate ways but still remain technically married. Examples of situations where a Legal Separation is desired often center around religious beliefs, personal reasons, or eligibility for medical insurance (which might be lost due to a dissolution of the marriage). The process is nearly identical to that of a dissolution; the assets and debts are divided, support obligations are determined, and custody orders are made if children are involved.
Unlike a dissolution, a Legal Separation requires the consent of both spouses. If only one spouse desires a Legal Separation, the marriage will be dissolved. It is also possible to obtain a dissolution of marriage in the future after a Legal Separation has occurred.