Legal separation and divorce are often conflated. While similar, these two legal processes are different and serve different purposes. If you are having troubles in your marriage and think that divorce may be on the horizon for you and your spouse, talk to one of our team. It’s important to know the difference between legal separation and divorce and how the former can potentially lead to the latter. It’s not uncommon for couples having marital problems to start with a legal separation before moving into a formal divorce. What Is Legal Separation? Divorce is the formal ending of a marriage.