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What is the difference between a separation and a divorce?

A separation, as the name suggests, is a decision by you and your partner to no longer be together.  If you are either formally married or living together in a common-law relationship, then a separation (with no prospect of reconciliation) is simply a decision to live separate and apart from each other.

A separation ends a common-law relationship entirely, but for married couples is only the first of several formal legal steps towards getting a divorce.

In contrast, a divorce involves the formal legal end to your marriage, and is essentially a declaration made by a court after defined legal process has been followed.  The concept of divorce does not apply to common-law relationships.

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