In Oklahoma a legal separation is a proceeding that allows a couple to separate without fully severing their relationship. In the context of a legal separation the following things (among others) are possible:
- Child Custody
- Child Support
- Property Division (including alimony in lieu of property division)
- Spousal Support
- Retirement Division
This is a rare legal proceeding, but it has a couple of uses. Sometimes there are religious or emotional reasons why a divorce isn't desired; other times there are insurance or other financial arrangements that cannot be cost-efficiently replicated after a divorce. It is also possible that a couple who has not lived in Oklahoma long enough to start a divorce (180 days) has lived in Oklahoma long enough to start a legal separation. They file the legal separation and after the requisite time has passed amend the petition to seek a divorce. This allows the sometimes long divorce process to wend its way along instead of being forced to wait until 180 days has passed.