Divorce vs. Legal Separation in Minnesota

May 8, 2015  |  Elizabeth A. Schading

Often what a “couple” considers separation versus what a court considers “separation” are two very different things.
There’s a difference between “separation” and “legal separation.” Just because you and your spouse are living apart, it doesn’t mean that you’re legally separated.
So, what is legal separation, and how does it differ from a divorce?

What is Legal Separation in Minnesota?

Legal separation actually changes the status of your marriage. Before you and your spouse can be legally separated, you’ll need to file and serve a petition.
It’s important to remember that this is a completely separate process from a divorce. Unlike other states, you’re not required to legally separate before getting a divorce in Minnesota.

Legal separation can take just as long as a divorce, and it can be just as costly.

For all intents and purposes, legal separation is just like a divorce. Property, child custody, child support and spousal maintenance issues are all resolved. The couple’s debts and assets are divided.


Legal Separation vs. Divorce

So, what makes legal separation different from a divorce? You’re still married.
If you want to end the marriage, you’ll need to go through the divorce process.

When Legal Separation Makes Sense

Why would a couple choose legal separation over a divorce?
For some, it’s their moral values or religious beliefs that prevent them from getting a divorce. In some cases, insurance, tax benefits or financial issues may prevent a divorce. Yet in other cases, couples are still on the fence about whether or not they want to divorce. If you’re still deciding which step is correct for you, it’s best to speak with an attorney familiar with Minnesota Family Law to get advice on your specific situation.

Get Help Today

Minnesota Family Law can be confusing, particularly when loved ones are involved. If you’d like to discuss anything with our family law attorneys, pick up the phone and call us at 763-780-8500 or email us if you’re more comfortable communicating that way. We’re here to help and we love meeting new clients so don’t hesitate contacting the BGS Law Firm. Elizabeth Schading author of this article is now offering FREE thirty minute initial consultations.  Her regular ninety minute consultations are still available for a fee.