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The 6 differences between separation and divorce

The 6 differences between separation and divorce

November 27, 2021

They say that love is a force that moves the world. And the truth is that it is one of the most powerful emotions, capable of making us join our lives and our path to those of another person.

But, nevertheless, sometimes love also ends. It is possible that a couple can not resolve incompatibilities of character or life goals, that infidelities occur and they can not be forgiven or, simply, that the flame of love that united the couple ends up becoming extinct or transform into something totally different from what our partner made us feel.

In many of these cases the partners can decide that the best thing could be to break the relationship or let it rest for a while, to either reflect or return to the path alone. This break can take many names, the best known being separation or divorce. But although sometimes they are indistinctly spoken of, the truth is that we are dealing with two terms that are not synonymous. Throughout this article we will make a brief definition of each one of them and see the differences between separation and divorce .


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Separation and divorce: basic definition

Separation and divorce are two terms widely known by the majority of the population, often being deeply linked to each other . However, we are not before synonymous concepts, making each of them reference to a different reality.

We understand separation to the process by which the termination or cessation of life as a couple occurs, this being the product of a decision by both components (de facto separation) or judicially.

While the separation implies that each member of a couple will move on to live his life independently (having to agree custody and care of offspring, aspects related to housing or division of property, annulling the matrimonial economic regime) does not imply per se the dissolution of the couple at the legal level, following in practice both married subjects .


The separation implies a situation in which the couple can go to reconcile or to divorce, being in general now a period in which their members finish deciding if they try to return or completely cease their relationship.

With regard to divorce, it is known as the process by which members of the couple extinguish their conjugal union completely, in such a way that an end to marriage is put and after finishing the process, they are no longer married. While in the past it was necessary for both spouses to agree to this pass, at present it is only necessary that one of them requires it and not requiring the agreement of the other to end their legal relationship.

However, it will be necessary to establish, either by mutual agreement or by judicial means, aspects such as the custody, care and maintenance of the children, the visitation regime for those who do not have custody or the distribution of the assets in case of maintain a regime of acquisitions.


In practice, both concepts have many aspects in common : usually in both cases there is a dissolution of a couple relationship, as well as the cessation of the regime of shared and joint property, the elimination of powers such as the possibility of inheritance or donation and rights with respect to and the taking of different types of legal measures regarding the custody, maintenance and care of children and beings in situations of dependency.

In fact, historically they have been so linked that in Spain, until 2005, in order to be able to divorce, it was a necessary requirement to have been separated. But as can be deduced from their descriptions, there are differences that differentiate them from each other.

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Differences between separation and divorce

Separation and divorce, although as we have said are two concepts that although they have a lot in common, basically they refer to different processes which they have elements that allow them to be distinguished . In this sense, the main differences between divorce and separation are the following, although the latter has more to do with the colloquial use of the term than the concept itself.

1. Termination of marriage

The main and most noticeable difference between separation and divorce refers to the type of link that such a break involves.

While in the separation we refer only to the cessation of coexistence and life in common (taking if legal effects on the property, custody of children, pets and dependents and on the possibility of inheritance) without it both subjects are no longer married, in the case of divorce the marriage union is completely terminated , leaving both subjects to be legally united with all that this implies.

2. Reversibility

A second difference between separation and divorce is found in the reversibility of the process. The divorce implies a totally irreversible dissolution of the marriage even in case of reconciliation, being the only legal alternative to remarry. Separation on the other hand does not extinguish the marriage bond , so that in case of reconciliation the couple would remain legally united and could reinstate the previous rights and legal status prior to their separation after having notified the judge.

3. Remarriage

Another difference, directly derived from the previous one, is the possibility of remarrying another person. In the case of divorce, the legal bond that united people has been dissolved, and they can remarry with other people if they wish. However, when we speak of separation, there has not been a separation between the betrothal, in such a way that they are legally married and they can not remarry (or else bigamy would be committed).

4. One does not necessarily imply the other

While it may seem strange and usually when a divorce also comes the separation hand, the fact is that one thing does not necessarily imply the other: it is possible for a couple to separate (even legally) without divorce for example because still do not know whether to reconcile or divorce , as well as the less frequent fact that although the couple legally divorces, in practice they can continue living together without separating (beyond the legal separation and the cessation of the rights of the marriage union).

5. Availability

Another difference can be found in the fact that there is the possibility of resorting to the procedure in question. And is that although today in most countries it is possible to divorce there are still some countries where divorce is not legal, such as the Philippines and the Vatican. In these places, separation is the only possible option for those couples who no longer want to continue together , should also be a de facto separation.

6. Difference in the use of the term: existence or not of effects at the legal level

A possible difference between separation and divorce comes from the colloquial use of the first of the terms, not really being a difference if we are talking about a legal separation.

And is that when we speak of separation in many cases we are talking about a separation of fact, in which both people agree to stop seeing each other for an undetermined time without there being any kind of judicial intervention and in which there would not have to be an affectation at the legal level.

This would be a difference with the term divorce, in which we always talk about the extinction of a marriage bond in which there are effects at the legal level. However, there is also separation as a judicial procedure, which would mediate legal institutions and that would have a legal effect applicable to aspects such as property and custody of children. Thus, this difference is not such, except in the more generic concept in which the separation term is used.


What Is The Difference Between Divorce And Legal Separation? (November 2021).


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