Legal Separation is a formal process, much like a divorce, but the difference is that it does not serve the purpose of legally dissolving the marriage. Thus, you remain married to your spouse, but have a court order that sets forth the terms of living separately, which may include spousal support, child custody and parenting time, child support, and property division. Legal Separation serves a very limited purpose as laws and societal trends have changed over the years. In the past Legal Separation may have been a way to allow separated spouses to be maintained on health insurance coverage provided through one spouse’s employer, as they still remained legally a dependent spouse.
However, the ability to remain covered by insurance is not by virtue of law, but through a contractual agreement with the insurance company. Many insurance companies will no longer cover a spouse if they are legally separated. Legal Separation may serve as a means to avoid the stigma of divorce, often for religious reasons. It is important to know that if spouses are legally separated, they are not free to remarry without actually divorcing.