I noun bifurcation, cleavage, demarcation, detachment, differentiation, disassociation, discrimination, distinction, distinguishment, division, divorce, fission, isolation, scission, segregation, separation, sunderance, withdrawal associated concepts: severance damage, severance of statute, severance pay, severance tax II index decentralization, dichotomy, dismissal (discharge), division (act of dividing), estrangement, exception (exclusion), interruption, schism, separation, split

Burton's Legal Thesaurus. . 2006

1) Separation of legal claims by court order to allow the claims to be tried separately. For example, a judge might sever the trials of two defendants accused of the same crime.
2) Money paid or benefits provided to an employee who is fired, laid off, or agrees to leave. (See also: severance pay)
Category: Criminal Law
Category: Employment Law & HR

Nolo’s Plain-English Law Dictionary. . 2009.

In the employment context, the employer's payment or other benefits given to an employee when the employment relationship terminates. It is typically offered in exchange for the employee waiving certain rights, such as the right to bring certain claims against the employer. It can be negotiated either:
• At the outset of employment and included in an employment agreement.
• On termination.
Pre-negotiated severance is more typical for executive level employees. Severance may also be paid under a plan adopted by the employer for all or certain sub-sets of its employees. Waivers of employee rights in exchange for severance must contain particular language to be valid under federal and state law.
US law does not mandate severance, unlike Canada and the UK, which do require severance to employees in certain instances.
For more information on severance see Practice Note, Conducting Layoffs and Other Reductions in Force: Severance Packages or Plans ( and Layoffs and Reductions in Force Checklist: Severance Considerations (; see also EEOC: Older Workers Benefit Protection Act of 1990 (OWBPA).
For the EEOC's guidance on the federal requirements, see EEOC: Understanding Waivers of Discrimination Claims in Employee Severance Agreements.

Practical Law Dictionary. Glossary of UK, US and international legal terms. . 2010.

1 A severing or cutting off; in criminal law the process of bringing a particular charge out of many so that only one issue, or a few closely related ones, is before the jury at a time, while reserving the right to bring other charges later; the separating of the claims of two or more parties for any of a number of reasons; the ending of a joint tenancy.
2 The removal of something attached to real property, such as crops or minerals, so that it becomes personal property instead of a part of the land.

Webster's New World Law Dictionary. . 2000.

The act of dividing, or the state of being divided.

Dictionary from West's Encyclopedia of American Law. 2005.

The act of dividing, or the state of being divided.

Short Dictionary of (mostly American) Legal Terms and Abbreviations.

   1) a separating by court order, such as separate trials for criminal defendants who were charged with the same crime, or trying the negligence aspect of a lawsuit before a trial on the damages. Such division of issues in a trial is sometimes also called "bifurcation." Severance is granted when a joint trial might be unfair or reaching a decision on one issue (such as negligence) may save the trouble of hearing the other questions.
   2) extra pay offered and made to a person to encourage him/her to resign, retire or settle a potential claim for discharge.

Law dictionary. . 2013.

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