FAQ: What is a Legal Separation?

Here you will find the answers to some common questions regarding Legal Separations.

Q: What is the difference between a Legal Separation and a Divorce?

A:  A divorce legally terminates a marriage and establishes Orders regarding the division of assets and liabilities, child custody and parenting time, child support, and spousal support. In contrast, a legal separation does not terminate the marriage. However, it does establish Orders regarding the rights and responsibilities of each party as they relate to financial obligations, child custody and parenting time, spousal support, and child support.  In this manner, a Legal Separation allows the parties to remain married while living separately.

Q: How do you get a legal separation?

A: It is filed with the Court the same way a divorce would be. All issues that would apply during a divorce (custody, child support, spousal support, etc.) would be addressed in a Separation Agreement. An experienced and knowledgeable attorney can help you prepare the necessary paperwork and obtain a Legal Separation.

Q: What if you later decide you want to divorce?

A:  It is possible to convert the separation to a divorce if the parties should decide to legally terminate their marriage in the future.

Q: What if you later decide you want to reconcile?

A: Since a legal separation does not terminate the marriage, the parties are able to dismiss the proceeding and continue their marriage together.

Q: Why would someone choose legal separation instead of divorce?

A: If there are conflicts in a marriage, a legal separation, which provides a structure for how the parties will operate financially and in relation to the custody and parenting time of the children, can provide a sense of security to the parties to allow them to focus on attempting to work things out.  Also, legal separations can be obtained in situations in which one does not believe in divorce due to religious beliefs.

Contact our office at (614) 567-3031 to schedule an initial consultation. Our knowledgeable attorneys will be able to answer any questions and help you determine whether a legal separation or divorce would be best in your situation.