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Lawyers in Gallatin, TN: Distinguishing Between Separation and Divorce

April 1, 2014

Look up the word “divorce” in a thesaurus, print or online. The word “separate” may appear alongside “divorce” in most, if not all, cases. On the surface, the two words seem to mean the same thing.

separation or divorce

For experienced lawyers in Gallatin, TN like Kenneth J. Phillips, however, the difference couldn’t be more detailed. In law, divorce isn’t the same as legal separation, although in both cases, husband and wife may no longer be living under one roof. Fox Business draws a thick line dividing divorce and legal separation, which is elementary for all states including Tennessee.

Legal Separation

Legal separation is not a complete severance of a marriage, but a court separation of the two spouses with a court order outlining the responsibilities of both parties.

The main financial difference between a separation and a divorce is that in a separation, the two parties can keep sharing benefits such as health insurance.”

After a legal separation, the husband and wife cease to live under one roof. However, this a separation doesn’t automatically undo a marriage since, in the eyes of the Tennessee judicial system, the couple remains married. This might get you thinking why not every married couple who have just had about enough of each other severe ties without further ado.

In a number of cases, legal separation is the primary choice for couples who still want coverage under spousal insurance plans. One spouse’s healthcare plan, usually given by an employer, can continue to cover the declared beneficiary—i.e. one’s spouse—even when the couple is already legally separated.


Divorce is simply the utter severance of ties, from living under one roof to being ineligible for some benefits like inheritance rights. Divorce may even affect Social Security, according to the article.

“Divorce can impact Social Security as well, depending on how long you’ve been married. Susan Carlisle, a forensic certified public accountant in Los Angeles, says that shared social security benefits will carry over from the marriage only if it lasted 10 years or more.”

At any rate, you might want to talk to a reputable Gallatin DUI lawyer who handles family law cases before you finally decide between legal separation and divorce. This way, you can have a better handle on your prospects after parting ways with your spouse.

(Source: “Separation or Divorce? What Each Means for Your Finances,” Fox Business)

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