Is it necessary to be legally or officially separated before you get a divorce? 26 Answers as of January 12, 2011

We just decided to get a divorce. We have been married and living together for 2 and a half years. We never decided to separate legally, though my husband has been staying with friends lately. Do we need to be legally separated before we can get a divorce?

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Law Office of Tim W. Avery
Law Office of Tim W. Avery | Tim W. Avery
There is no such thing as legal separation in Texas. Although most people are separated at the time they file for divorce, it is not a requirement to do so.
Answer Applies to: Texas
Replied: 1/12/2011
Harris Law Firm
Harris Law Firm | Jennifer C. Robins
In the State of Oregon, legal separation is not required prior to filing for dissolution.
Answer Applies to: Oregon
Replied: 12/28/2010
John E. Kirchner, Attorney at Law
John E. Kirchner, Attorney at Law | John Kirchner
No. In Colorado a Legal Separation means that a Court has judicially approved the separation and the various related financial terms of the separation. There is no such thing as an "illegal" separation, so the fact that you and your husband are physically separated (i.e. living apart) isn't legally significant with regard to the issues that need to be decided in the judicial process. The same legal questions concerning property and financial affairs have to be answered in both a case for Legal Separation and a case for Dissolution of the Marriage. Until that occurs, there are no rules that control how your separate living arrangements must be conducted.
Answer Applies to: Colorado
Replied: 12/27/2010
Keri Burnstein, P.C.
Keri Burnstein, P.C. | Keri Burnstein
You definitely do not need to legally separate before filing for a divorce. In Michigan, most people who file for a legal separation (called separate maintenance) usually do so for either religious reasons or medical reasons.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 12/23/2010
DiManna Law Office, LLC.
DiManna Law Office, LLC. | Dawn DiManna
No, you do not need to be legally separated to file for divorce.
Answer Applies to: New Hampshire
Replied: 12/21/2010
    Diana K. Zilko, Attorney at Law
    Diana K. Zilko, Attorney at Law | Diana K. Zilko
    When you file for divorce, you will be asked for the date of separation. That can be the date you file, or an earlier date, if appropriate. If you have any further questions, please let me know.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 12/20/2010
    Maclean Chung Law Firm
    Maclean Chung Law Firm | G. Thomas MacLean Jr.
    No, you do not need to be legally separated to file for divorce. You can get a divorce even if you still live together.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 12/20/2010
    Law Office of Curry & Westgate
    Law Office of Curry & Westgate | Patrick Curry
    You sound like you are already separated, to make it official you must file divorce petition.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 12/20/2010
    Reeves Law Firm, P.C.
    Reeves Law Firm, P.C. | Roy L. Reeves
    Texas does not recognize separation - that is to say, we do not have legal separation like other states. You simply file for divorce and cease living together as husband and wife.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 12/20/2010
    Rice & Co., LPA
    Rice & Co., LPA | Kollin Rice
    You do not have to be legally separated prior to being divorced in Ohio.
    Answer Applies to: Ohio
    Replied: 12/20/2010
    William C. Gosnell, Attorney at Law
    William C. Gosnell, Attorney at Law | William C. Gosnell
    No, it is not necessary for you to be separated.
    Answer Applies to: Tennessee
    Replied: 12/20/2010
    Froerer and Miles, P.C.
    Froerer and Miles, P.C. | Robert L Froerer
    No you do not. If you have other questions, please call our office for a free telephone discussion.
    Answer Applies to: Utah
    Replied: 12/20/2010
    Law Office of Matt Potempa, PLLC
    Law Office of Matt Potempa, PLLC | Matt Potempa
    There is no requirement to be legally separated before you or your husband files for divorce.
    Answer Applies to: Tennessee
    Replied: 12/18/2010
    Naziri Hanassab LLP
    Naziri Hanassab LLP | Vahid Naziri
    There is a difference between "date of separation" and "legal separation." The date of separation is the date when you and your husband have decided to separate. Factor can include, living in separate rooms, one spouse moving out..etc. Legal separation is a process that is the same as getting a divorce...however the difference is that you are still married but have resolved all marital issues and live apart.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 12/18/2010
    Law Office of Joseph A. Katz
    Law Office of Joseph A. Katz | Joseph A. Katz
    Generally, there is no point in filing for a Legal Separation, and you certainly do not have to do so. Just file the Petition and Summons, and then the Response within thirty days, and proceed from there.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 12/18/2010
    Saddleback Law Center
    Saddleback Law Center | Paris Kalor
    No. Legal separation is just like a divorce, but it is for people who for religious reasons, or health insurance issues do not want to get a divorce.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 12/18/2010
    Beaulier Law Office
    Beaulier Law Office | Maury Beaulier
    Under Minnesota law, there is no requirement that the parties separate for a period of time before divorce. States that include fault based divorce often carry such separation periods. For a consultation call us.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 12/18/2010
    Kaczmarek Law Firm, LLC
    Kaczmarek Law Firm, LLC | Bridgette D. Kaczmarek
    Colorado has no requirement that you have to be separated before you can file for divorce. The only time requirement for Colorado is you must be a resident for at least 90 days prior to filing, any children must have been residents for at least 6 months before filing and you have to wait 90 days after filing before the divorce can be finalized. Other than that, there is no requirement for legal separation before divorce. Legal separation can be filed if you are hopeful to work things out. If you do file a Legal Separation, you will have to wait 6 months before you can finalize the divorce instead of 90 days. So if you file a straight dissolution action, and all of the above time delays have been (residency) and you do not file for legal separation, your divorce will be finalized in 90 days.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 12/18/2010
    Cody and Gonillo, LLP
    Cody and Gonillo, LLP | Christine Gonilla
    Not in Connecticut. If you have any further questions feel free to contact me.
    Answer Applies to: Connecticut
    Replied: 12/18/2010
    Stuart Jon Bierman  Attorney at Law
    Stuart Jon Bierman Attorney at Law | Stuart Jon Bierman
    No, not for cases which are eligible to be filed in the courts of New Jersey.
    Answer Applies to: New Jersey
    Replied: 12/18/2010
    The Connelly Firm P.C.
    The Connelly Firm P.C. | Thomas Connelly
    No, in Pennsylvania legal separation is defined as absence of evidence of your "cohabitating" with your spouse. "Cohabitating" with your spouse is basically having sex. In Pennsylvania, none of this really matters if the two of you agree to a divorce. One of you needs to file a divorce complaint to get things rolling and theoretically you can be divorced by mutual agreement within 90 days. If your spouse contests the divorce, you will have to proceed on fault grounds (ie adultery, indignities, etc) or on the basis that you have been separated (not having sex, living in separate rooms of the same house, etc.) for two years. Please contact me if you wish to retain me, and good luck!
    Answer Applies to: Pennsylvania
    Replied: 12/18/2010
    441 Legal Group, Inc.
    441 Legal Group, Inc. | Gareth H. Bullock
    No you do not. Florida does not have legal separation. It is a no fault State.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 12/18/2010
    Warner Center Law Offices of Donald F. Conviser
    Warner Center Law Offices of Donald F. Conviser | Donald F. Conviser
    You do not need to live separately to get a divorce.All you need to qualify for a divorce is to have irreconcilable differences that have led to an irremediable breakdown of the marriage. Just file a divorce case, have the papers served by somebody over 18 other than you, and proceed.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 12/17/2010
    Law Office of L. Paul Zahn
    Law Office of L. Paul Zahn | Paul Zahn
    No do not need to file for and obtain a legal separation before getting divorced. In California, legal separation is not an intermediate step, but a resolution of the marital status which is usually used for religious or medical reasons. Please feel free to contact me for a free consultation regarding your case.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 12/17/2010
    Michael Apicella
    Michael Apicella | Apicella Law and Mediation
    No. You can simply file for divorce at your local county courthouse when you are ready to start the divorce process. If you need assistance, feel free to contact my office.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 12/17/2010
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