HOW DOES A LEGAL SEPARATION DIFFER FROM A DIVORCE?
Divorce may not be an option due to religious convictions or concerns relating to losing certain benefits. At the same time, a person may suffer harm by being financially tied to his or her spouse. If your spouse is an alcoholic, for example, you are at risk of losing everything you own if your spouse causes an accident while intoxicated. Similarly, you may have a spouse who incurs debt irresponsibly and thus, renders you responsible for massive financial obligations.
A legal separation is a method by which a spouse remains married but terminates the financial connection with the other spouse. The process is similar to a divorce proceeding, but the parties receive a decree of legal separation as opposed to a decree of dissolution of marriage. That is, the parties remain married, but they are not financially responsible for the other spouse.
Basically, a legal separation involves the same issues as a divorce case. The court will divide the marital and joint property, address custody and parenting time issues, and provide for support. The primary difference is that the marriage is not dissolved.
If the parties decide to terminate the marriage after a decree of legal separation is entered, there are ways to convert the decree of legal separation into a decree of dissolution without going through a full divorce proceeding.
R D SMITH LAW, Roger D. Smith, attorney, is ready, willing and experienced to guide you through the YOUR personal family law process.
Contact our office at 480-443-7600 to arrange your personal consultation.