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The Three Types of Separation

There are three types of separation:

Trial Separation

A trial separation takes place if a couple is not really sure if they want to get divorced and if they think there is some chance of reconciliation. During a trial separation, the couple lives apart, but their debts and assets are not separated between the two and are considered to be the responsibility of both individuals.

Permanent Separation

In a permanent separation, the couple is sure that there is no chance of reconciliation, but due to religious or other reasons, they choose not to get legally divorced. Hence, the marriage is not considered to be legally terminated, and material gains or losses are not divided between the two spouses, i.e. each spouse will be responsible for his/her own material gains/losses.

Legal separation or “limited divorce”:

The couple decides to separate permanently and either one or both spouses file a request to the court for a “limited divorce” to be granted. However, this divorce is not recognized by the court as being a permanent or “absolute” divorce. It is only regarded as being a permanent estrangement or separation. Each state has different grounds on the basis of which “limited divorce” is granted, but generally couples seek limited divorce if they who do not have grounds for absolute divorce, need financial help and/or are unable to settle their financial and other differences privately.

However, a couple only opts for a limited divorce if they feel there is no reasonable hope of reconciliation and they are not opting for an absolute divorce because of religious or other reasons. There is no severance of the marital bonds.

A good alternative to filing for a limited divorce is that both spouses should enter into a “temporary agreement”. This agreement will grant the same orders which are otherwise achieved through the limited divorce.


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