Separate Maintenance Order Versus Legal Separation

divorce lawyer Andrea JohnsonQuestion:

My wife does not want a divorce but she does want to separate. However, in my research online it appears my state does not offer “legal separation” but rather “separate maintenance orders.”

What is a separate maintenance order and how is it different from a divorce?


I am unable to give you legal advice on divorce. I can give general divorce help for men, though, my knowledge is based on Georgia divorce laws where I am licensed to practice.

Your research is correct.  There is no true legal separation in some states.

Where I practice, there are orders called separate maintenance orders, which address support and custody for parties who do not live together.

Litigating a separate maintenance case is very much like litigating a divorce. Separate maintenance orders are almost exactly like divorce decrees, when it comes to custody, child support, and alimony, except that the parties subject to the order are still married.

If you have a separate maintenance order, and later decide that you want a divorce, you will likely have to go back through the litigation process as you continue to remain 100% married to your spouse.

There are advantages to separate maintenance. Some people opt to remain married but subject to separate maintenance orders in order to have tax benefits for being married. Some people prefer separate maintenance orders because they can maintain joint insurance.

Read Related Articles:

Legal Separation vs. Divorce

Remember, I am unable to provide you with anything more than divorce tips for men, so please consult with divorce lawyers for men in your jurisdiction.

To arrange an initial consultation to discuss divorce rights for men with a Cordell & Cordell attorney, including Atlanta Divorce Lawyer Andrea Johnson, please contact Cordell & Cordell.

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