Divorce and legal separation are similar in that all the issues typically decided in a divorce are also decided in a legal separation – division of assets and debts, custody and visitation, child support, and spousal support. However, the major distinction between the two is that a divorce terminates the marriage so that both parties return to single status, whereas a legal separation preserves the marital status of husband and wife. Some couples may prefer legal separation over divorce for a variety of emotional, financial, and religious reasons.