Legal Separation

An arrangement in which a married couple lives apart but remains legally married following a court order. A couple that want to get a divorce, but needs time to work out certain financial issues, may obtain a legal separation in most states. A legal separation must be obtained through a court order, and is usually a prelude to an absolute divorce, though not always. It is not necessary to obtain a legal separation order for a trial separation, but it may help if issues of child custody and support arise.

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