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Divorce or Legal Separation? Which Option is Best for You?


There may come a point in your relationship when you feel it has run its course and you need to make the hard decision of either separating or getting a divorce. This can be an incredibly difficult decision and knowing all of your options when it comes to either choice can really help you make the right choice for you as well as your spouse.

This decision can especially be tough if you have kids or property, but regardless of your assets, you will need help to navigate your options. This article will go over the differences between getting a legal separation versus a divorce in Alabama. Knowing your options will help you make the best decision for yourself and get you on the right path forward.

What is Legal Separation?

In Alabama, legal separation is a viable choice recognized by the courts. If you are married, you can choose this option instead of divorce, be it for personal, religious, medical, custody, or property-driven reasons. When you choose legal separation, you stay legally married to your spouse. A legal separation can be turned into a divorce or if you and your spouse decide to reconcile at any point, the separation can be terminated. 

Separation Agreement

When you decide to get a separation, you and your spouse will need to sign a separation agreement which is a legally binding contract that resolves any property, debt or child-related issues you may have. Depending on what you need to resolve, this agreement can get quite lengthy and complex, so it is recommended to have a professional attorney review it thoroughly.


To obtain a legal separation, you will need to assert one of these two no-fault grounds: either you can assert a breakdown of the marriage where to reconcile would be futile or you can assert incompatibility and state a desire to live apart and separate. The court usually accepts either with minimal evidence needed.

Dissolution of Legal Separation

If you get legally separated and decide to reconcile, the state of Alabama allows revocation of the legal separation. If you decide to get divorced later on, the previous legal separation is not included in that and you will have to start from square one when you file for the divorce.

Definition of Divorce

Divorce is the dissolution of a marriage. No matter where you reside,, you will need court approval to end your marriage. The court will also help with dividing property and child custody. In the simplest terms, divorce ends a marriage. Whether you live in Alabama or any other state, you need a court to approve a divorce.

What is the Difference Between Legal Separation and Divorce?

A divorce is the legal process that ends your marriage definitively. This process will have the courts divide your property, assign child custody and calculate child support and alimony as well. Divorce is dissolves the marriage and both parties are legally single again.

With legal separation, you are technically still married although you can have your assets divided and live separately. This option is good for those who are unsure if they want to get divorced or can’t get divorced for a myriad of reasons, as divorce can be quite expensive and intense.

Need Help with Your Legal Separation or Divorce? We Are Here for You.

For over 40 years, the expert attorneys at Brackin Law Firm have helped clients achieve their goals by providing exceptional service tailored to each client’s needs. We value our role as your legal counsel, and we will take the time to make sure you understand what is going on with your case and how the law may affect your case.

Call or use our online contact form to get the best legal services in Baldwin County. We are ready to help you understand your legal options and create the best case for your interests.

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