What is the difference between divorce and separate maintenance (legal separation).
In a separate maintenance action, the marriage contract between the spouses remains in effect. However, the action can declare property rights, debt obligations, custody, visitation and child support.
Choosing to file a separate maintenance rather than a divorce is a personal decision which can be based on special circumstances such as religious beliefs, property issues, or for tax reasons. You should consult with an attorney to discuss your options and any impact this choice will make in your situation.