- For Attorneys
A "legal separation" is a court order setting out enforceable terms for a
couple who remains married but agrees not to live together as husband and
wife. The separation judgment states who gets the children, who pays
support for the children, whether and how much spousal support is ordered,
and who gets which property and pays which debts. Legal separation is
sometimes used when religious beliefs prohibit divorce or when you or your
spouse have not yet lived in Oregon long enough to file for divorce. A legal
separation costs about the same as a divorce. During the first two years it
can be changed to a divorce by either person. After two years, you can still
get a divorce, but it will be a separate case. If you get a divorce later, the
terms will probably be the same as the terms of your legal separation.
The main difference between divorce and legal separation is that you are still
married after a legal separation, so you cannot marry someone else. Also,
you still have the right to inherit property "automatically" from your spouse
if you are legally separated. If you are divorced you lose that right.