What are the major differences between a legal separation and divorce?
I am not licensed to practice law in your state. Therefore, I cannot inform you as to the specific laws of your state and can only provide you with general information concerning divorce.
You have several rights in a separation or divorce. However, your rights are very much dependent upon the specific facts of your case.
You may choose to file for a legal separation rather than filing for divorce. A legal separation provides guidelines for both parties concerning what they are going to do to try to save the marriage.
However, a divorce case does not focus on saving the marriage but rather on how to separate any property and how to care for the children (if there are any).
There are several areas of facts to examine in order to determine what the best situation is for you and your wife. Some of these areas are: child custody and support, real property, personal property, asset and debt division, financial concerns or alimony and how the parties should govern themselves while these issues are determined.
If you leave the home, it is most likely that she would be given temporary possession of the home during the pendency of a divorce.
The issues then, are how do you retrieve any personal belongings from the home, who pays the mortgage on the home, and what is going to be done with the home in the event of a divorce. These are all things (among potentially more) that need to be discussed.
Remember, I am unable to provide you with anything more than general divorce tips, so please consult a domestic litigation attorney in your area to obtain specific advice as to the laws in your state and how they impact your circumstances.