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Separation, divorce, property division may cause confusion

Ending a marriage in Pennsylvania is hardly an easy and quick process. After all, many ethical and legal factors must be considered, including how to handle property division, for example. From a legal standpoint, a married couple has two options when they determine it is best for them to stop living together: legal separation or divorce.

Legal separation is essentially a contract the court draws up that enables both spouses to live apart while still being able to take advantage of the responsibilities and rights associated with marriage. It is usually called a trial separation. Both parties can take a break from the fighting and anger surrounding their relationship and experience a cooling down period before deciding to get divorced or stay married.

As part of a separation, the spouses are still able to make financial or medical decisions for one another. They both also have the legal right to the appropriate benefits or property when the other party passes away. In this situation, they are not allowed to remarry.

Even though separation and divorce are sometimes used interchangeably, divorce is different from separation in that the parties are no longer married. Navigating a divorce proceeding can be difficult if both parties are not on the same page with regard to how to handle property division or other matters, such as child custody or spousal support. A qualified attorney can offer the necessary guidance to make sure that one's rights are protected when pursuing either separation or divorce in Pennsylvania.

Source:, "What Is The Difference Between Legal Separation And Divorce?", Russ Thornton, Sept. 28, 2017

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