What is legal separation and how does it differ from a divorce?

Burnsville, MN Family Law Attorney, Merlyn Meinerts talks about why legal separation is different from divorce.

Contact Merlyn Meinerts

Email: [email protected]

Phone: (952) 736-1843


The process of legal separation is virtually identical to a marital dissolution, in that there’s a summons and a petition and the outcome is a decree of legal separation. The legal standard for obtaining a divorce is that there’s an irretrievable breakdown in the marriage, but the legal standard for legal separation is simply that the parties are in need of having a legal separation. To me it’s a question of simply drawing some boundaries during some time when parties are separated, contemplating counseling, contemplating potential reconciliation, so those boundaries relate to things like custody and parenting time. Sometimes more importantly, it relates to the monthly financial obligations of the parties – how is the family going to be supported, how is the mortgage going to get paid, and those types of things while the legal separation is pending.