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Differences Between A Legal Separation and A Divorce

What are the differences between a legal separation and a divorce? Generally speaking, there are very little differences between a legal separation and a divorce. They are virtually identical in the State of New Hampshire. The primary difference between a legal separation and a divorce are as follows:

Legal Separation:

  • You are still legally married
  • You cannot get remarried
  • You cannot change your married name back to your maiden name (if changed)


  • Your marriage is legally terminated by the Court
    You can remarry
    You can change your married name back to your maiden name (if changed)

The process:

You begin the process of both a divorce and a legal separation the same way. Filing a Petition with the Court. Once all parties to the proceeding have been served, the Court will schedule either a hearing or mediation. The Judge is allowed to make temporary and permanent orders in both a divorce proceeding and legal separations. The Judge is allowed to make on a temporary and/or permanent basis Parenting Plans, Child Support, Alimony, and Asset/Debt Division.

Which is best for me?

Getting a legal separation versus getting divorced can cost just as much, both financially and emotionally. Many people ask why even bother getting legally separated, why not just get divorced? There are a number of reasons why couples may choose legal separation over divorce, among those reasons are religious beliefs, moral values, and health insurance benefits.

That being said, it is important to always consult with an attorney if you are contemplating becoming legally separated in order to stay on your spouse’s employer sponsored health insurance. Not all employers make exceptions to allow for legally separated parties to maintain health insurance through their spouse. With the current law, this benefit may still exist even after a divorce. Here is another resource from Attorney Honey Hastings that the NH Lawyer Referral Services use to discuss this topic further: Click Here

Regardless of which route is right for you, we always recommend that you hire an Attorney to make sure that your best interests are protected and your goals are being met. We serve the Greater Nashua area and are here to help. If you are in need of a divorce or legal separation and would like to meet with one of our experienced attorneys, call us today at (603) 943-5647.

Katherine J. Morneau