A Family Law Lawyer Answers Questions About Legal Separation
When you are considering a divorce with your spouse, one of the first steps is likely going to be a legal separation. Voluntary separation and living apart from your spouse is not the same thing as legal separation, which is recognized by the court. When you and your spouse believe that divorce is the best option, you should consult with an attorney to discuss what the best options are for you regarding a legal separation. Attorneys understand that this can be an incredibly stressful time for you and your family, so give a law firm a call today set up your first consultation.
Is a legal separation really that different from a divorce?
A legal separation is different from a divorce, and if you are unsure of which one is the best option, you should speak with an attorney about what is best for your family. When you are legally separated, you may be physically distant from your spouse but you are still married according to the law. A divorce, however, legally ends your marital relationship. It is important to note that even in a legal separation it is possible to ask the court to help you and your spouse divide your property, your debts, and even help with custody issues.
Are there benefits to legal separation?
Some people choose legal separation over divorce because there are still some benefits that they may find in the relationship that they would not have in a divorce. For example, if you are legally separated, you can still receive your spouse’s social security benefits as well as any healthcare coverage from their employer. You would not be able to do so if you and your spouse divorce.
My spouse and I are interested in legal separation. What can I do?
It is important to discuss this option with your attorney and see what your state allows regarding legal separations. Like divorce, you will need to meet your state’s residency requirements to qualify for a separation, and you will need to file the appropriate paperwork and serve them (or have your spouse do this). This process is not dissimilar to the divorce process, but it is usually much more amicable. Depending on your state, you may only be allowed to legally separate with your spouse for a certain period of time.
What if I prefer a divorce?
If you believe that a divorce would be in your best interest (and the best interest of your family), you should speak with your attorney regarding the process for divorce and learn how legal separation may play into your decision. It is also important to understand how the different kinds of separation can affect your ability to have child custody, so always be upfront with your attorney regarding your intentions when you have children.
If you are considering a legal separation or a divorce from your spouse, you are not alone. The process can be quite complex and you should speak with an divorce lawyer Rockville, MD offers as soon as possible.
Thank you to our friends and contributors at The Law Office of Daniel J. Wright for their insight into family law and legal separation.