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What Is a Legal Separation?

Published on November 28th, 2020

Divorce Lawyer

Deciding that a marriage is over may not be something that you want to rush into quickly. Once you go through a divorce, you will have to get remarried if you and your spouse decide you made a mistake. In some states, a legal separation is required before continuing with the divorce process. Find out what this type of legal action entails and if it is something you want to consider pursuing regardless.

Legal Separation

When you and your spouse need space, you may decide one of you will move out of the house. This separation may be on a trial basis, and you two may agree to certain terms and conditions. For instance, will you continue to share a bank account? When will the kids spend time with you both? How long will this last? In some states, a physical separation is required before beginning the divorce process.

Benefits of a Legal Separation

A legal separation, whether required by your state statutes, is beneficial for an array of reasons. First and foremost, it begins a dialogue between you and your spouse, even in a strained situation. A legal separation forces you to memorialize any kind of financial and child care agreements in writing and provide them to the court. While you do not need an attorney to prepare a legal separation document and file it, having one is recommended. This will also likely be the person who represents you during a divorce proceeding.

Moving Forward With Divorce

If you and your spouse decide you no longer want to be married, a legal separation may provide the framework upon which you build your other divorce documents. You may have gotten some pre-filing orders regarding spousal support, child support and custody that you can build upon for your final divorce agreement. A legal separation document may be used to convince a judge that a spouse agreed to certain terms once if they are starting to have second thoughts. The other side of the process is that you may decide not to move forward with a divorce in lieu of reconciling or just remaining legally separated.

A family lawyer can help guide you through the various processes required to get a divorce in your state. Only someone who is well versed in the legal requirements dictated by your local and state government can provide you with the sound advice your situation may require. 

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