Legal separation and divorce have much in common. The proceedings are similar and include the same final orders as divorce, including, but not limited to:
The one major difference between legal separation and divorce is that the spouses REMAIN SPOUSES! That is, the couple remains married to one another, and neither is free to remarry. To remarry, couples who are legally separated must procure a divorce (unless one spouse passes away).
A legal separation is only an option when the marriage is legal and valid. For a court to award a legal decree of separation, it must find the following:
As with a no-fault divorce, a no-fault legal separation is ruled to be irretrievably broken by the court.
Should spouses choose to physically separate, each still owns an equal share of the marital assets and debts and is responsible for both. Spouses may remain physically separated and married to one another until death.
A legal separation includes final orders about property and debts. When one spouse fails to pay debts or abide by property orders in their decree, that spouse may petition the court for enforcement of the order.
Once the court enters a decree for legal separation, there is no more community (marital) property.
There are several reasons spouses choose legal separation over divorce. These may include, but are not limited to:
Spouses with a covenant marriage have additional statutory requirements to procure a legal separation. A grounds for legal separation is required, and the petitioning spouse must prove their case by a preponderance of the evidence.
If one spouse wants a divorce and the other wants a legal separation, any case for legal separation must be converted to a divorce or dismissed.
To determine if legal separation or divorce is the best choice for you and your spouse, speak with an experienced Chandler divorce attorney at Wilson-Goodman Law Group, PLLC. One of our knowledgeable attorneys can discuss the pros and cons of both actions with you before you take your next step.
At Wilson-Goodman Law Group, PLLC, we believe in meeting your unique needs with practical solutions designed specifically for you. Contact our office today to learn more about our full-service law firm.