There are instances when a married couple may no longer wish to live as a married couple. Many options are available in order for this to happen. One such option provides that a married couple only live apart, and provide conditions and stipulations with regards to shared properties, child support and custody, spousal support, and other matters that are affected by the living apart of the married couple. This type of option exists in the form of a court document referred to as a legal separation.
A legal separation may also be known as a trial separation or as a divorce a mensa et thoro. There are various reasons as to why a married couple may choose to undergo a legal separation rather than all the other alternatives, such as annulment or divorce. On such reason may be that the married couple no longer want to live together as a married couple, but do not wish to deny their spouse the benefits of marriage, such as health care. It is also possible that a legal separation is sought by married couples that are thinking of getting a divorce, but wish to see if that’s really what they want. Thus, they enter a legal separation as a trial. A legal separation may also be obtained by married couples whose religious beliefs or ideologies do not accept divorce. Thus, a legal separation allows them to live their separate lives without violating their values and beliefs. A legal separation may also be used to expedite a divorce in areas where it is difficult to obtain a divorce.