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What Does Legally Separating Mean? Anna Faris & Chris Pratt Have Announced Their Split

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In the world of celebrity romances, it's usually a given that most high-profile pairings won't last. But it definitely came as a shock when Anna Faris and Chris Pratt announced their split Sunday, as the two actors definitely seemed like they were going to beat the odds. In a joint statement shared on Facebook, Faris and Pratt said that they are legally separating, and that they "tried hard for a long time," according to People. But what does legally separating mean specifically? The term sheds some light on what's to come for the couple.

Pratt and Faris married in 2009, and welcomed their son, Jack, in 2012. In the statement, the couple acknowledged their intention to remain dedicated to raising him together, and wrote, "Our son has two parents who love him very much and for his sake we want to keep this situation as private as possible moving forward." They also wrote that they "still have love for each other," and "will always cherish our time together."

Something else that will continue, at least for the time being? Their actual marriage. According to divorce attorneys Bohm Wildish, LLP, in California, getting legally separation is different from getting divorced, because although the couple will still go through the process of dividing their property assets, as well as a custody arrangement for their son, they won't actually be asking the court to dissolve their marriage.

While it's not exactly clear why the couple opted to move ahead with a legal separation instead of informally separating or pursuing a divorce, there are some specific advantages to going that route, according to Legal Zoom. For one, the fact that legally separating doesn't terminate the actual marriage means that it technically leaves room for the couple to reconcile in the future. Unfortunately, given the fact that Faris and Pratt have already announced the split publicly, the hope that they'll call this off is probably wishful thinking.

What might be a more likely determining factor is that legal separation is often viewed as an easier, less disruptive way for a couple to split. According to Legal Zoom, legal separation allows a for a relationship to end and an agreement to be hammered out, without requiring the couple's children to "witness the potentially long, emotional and stressful divorce process." Legal separations also do not have any waiting periods or residency restrictions attached, which makes them a good option for a swift and clean break for couples who don't specifically need their actual legal marriage to end.

Of course, in many cases, legal separations do end in eventual divorce, and if Pratt and Faris do decide to divorce at some point, the fact that they will have already legally separated will likely make the process much easier. In some instances, couples also choose legal separation for personal or religious reasons (if they want to legally split, but when divorce is not considered an option), or if there are certain financial circumstances, like if the couple still wants to share certain financial resources, or maintain certain joint benefits like health insurance or military benefits, according to Forbes. In Pratt and Faris' case though, it seems like they may just be looking to end their relationship with as little unnecessary stress and hostility as possible.

That's likely a wise choice on their part, and probably means they aren't bracing for an ugly divorce battle that'll play out in the tabloids. But even if the split is an amicable one, it's still pretty heartbreaking — Pratt and and Faris pretty much seemed totally perfect for one another, after all. But holding a marriage together in Hollywood definitely can't be easy, and as much as it's disappointing news, it sounds like they've determined that being apart is what really will be for the best.