What is Legal Separation?
A legal separation is a formal legal proceeding that can accomplish everything that a divorce can accomplish EXCEPT legally divorcing the parties. In a legal separation, the parties resolve all of their legal issues with a final decree that addresses things like maintenance, child custody, division of property and other legal issues. At the end of a such a proceeding, however, the parties remain legally married. A legal separation can be converted to a divorce during the pendency of the case or anytime in the future (but no earlier than 6 months after the Decree has issued).
Reasons to Choose Separation Instead of Divorce
We do not often recommend legal separations to our clients. However, in two particular instances, a legal separation may be appropriate:
- There may be tax purposes, health insurance purposes, or business purposes that warrant a Legal Separation instead of a divorce.
- You have religious reasons for which you do not want to be divorced, but you need to separate the rest of your estate from your spouse.