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How are divorce and legal separation in Nebraska different?

When your marriage isn't working out, you have four options to choose from in Nebraska. The first option is that you can stay married and try to hash things out. The second option is that you can be legally separated. The third option is that you can get a divorce. The fourth is a temporary separation that allows you and your spouse to have time apart while you work on things. Our readers might find the answers to these questions interesting if they want to know the difference between a legal separation and a divorce.

What are the residency requirements?

In order to file for a divorce, you or your spouse has to live in Nebraska for at least a year preceding the divorce petition. If you can't meet that requirement, you can file for a legal separation, which doesn't have a minimum residency requirement.

How are divorce and legal separation different?

Both are final court orders that include decisions about the children, division of assets, division of debts, child support, alimony and other considerations. A legal separation, however, doesn't end a marriage like a divorce does.

What is the purpose of a legal separation if it doesn't end the marriage?

Some people don't want to go through a divorce because of religious beliefs or other reasons. A legal separation gives them the option of dividing everything and getting the necessary orders for custody and the like. This can prove helpful if you need those decisions made but can't yet meet the residency requirement.

It is vital that our Nebraska readers realize that a legal separation is a final order. This isn't something that allows you and your spouse the chance to work out the issues of your marriage. That is a temporary separation. Understanding all these options and how they affect you might be difficult. Working with someone who is familiar with each might help you to decide which is right for your needs.

Source: Legal Aid of Nebraska, "Divorce Handbook" Dec. 28, 2014

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