DivorceDivorce and SeparationFamily Law

Divorce and / or separation ?

Family law: Divorce and separation, what is the difference?


The end of a conjugal union can be brought about by two measures: divorce and separation. What is the difference between them? Lawrence explains it to you here. 


Separation is a less radical measure than divorce. It is usually a period that couples in crisis use, resulting in either reconciliation or divorce. 

Life together is suspended, but spousal obligations are not. 

A separated couple remains married. There is therefore an obligation of maintenance, the surviving spouse will inherit in the event of death, the AHV is not divided and it is impossible to remarry. The matrimonial property regime is in principle not liquidated. The 2nd pillar pension plan is not balanced. 

A marital home is assigned upon separation. Contributions, custody and visitation rights are established in the same way as in a divorce. 

It is possible not to report the separation to a judicial authority. However, we recommend that a separation agreement be drawn up under private signature and validated by a judge. The assistance of a lawyer is strongly encouraged. The lawyer can act as a mediator and draw up an agreement between the spouses concerning the separation of property, contributions and custody of the children. 

If the separation is announced to a judge, the spouses will have to file separate tax returns. 

Separation from bed and board, pronounced by a judge, facilitates the divorce procedure in the event of a unilateral petition. 



Divorce signifies the end of the marriage and the resulting obligations. Thus, the ex-spouse will not receive the inheritance of the surviving spouse (unless testamentary measure to the contrary) and remarriage will be possible. 

The matrimonial property regime is liquidated, the 2nd pillar is balanced and the AHV/AVS pension is divided. 

Measures concerning contributions, custody and visitation rights must be put in place. 

The divorce must be pronounced by a judge. The petition can be joint or unilateral, the latter resulting in more laborious proceedings. 

A lawyer almost always represents the spouses in court. The divorce proceedings themselves often cause more litigation. Your lawyer will be able to defend your rights and needs to the best of his or her ability and prepare the best strategy to ensure that you do not feel prejudiced at the hearing. 


Do you need legal assistance for a separation or divorce? Lawrence represents you in all circumstances and will help you during these procedures!

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