In the end you have to do all the same amount of work to get to a legal separation as to get a divorce  which in Washington is called dissolution.  The difference is that with a decree of legal separation you're not actually divorced so you couldn't go out and get married again.  But it's a very easy process to convert that legal separation to a divorce.  There are two primary reasons people want a legal separation -- one, they're not emotionally ready to actually be divorced, they don't want that finality.  And the second reason is because one spouse may need to stay on the other’s health insurance, most companies, not all but most, will allow both spouses to remain on the employer's policy with a legal separation but not with a divorce.

Molly B. Kenny
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Divorce and Child Custody Attorney Serving Bellevue and Seattle Washington