Is there a reason to get legally separated? 24 Answers as of May 01, 2011

Is there such thing as legal separation? Is there a reason to get legally separated instead of a divorce? Do divorce attorneys handle legal separations too?

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Law Office of Joseph A. Katz
Law Office of Joseph A. Katz | Joseph A. Katz
Yes, yes (though I do not usually advise it) and yes. You should only apply for a legal separation if there is some compelling reason to preserve the marital status (e.g., you need to keep covering your ex-spouse medical insurance), or if you have religious proscriptions (though if you do, they might preclude separation, too... I do not know.) A legal separation is filed for the same way as a divorce, and in fact, uses the same forms.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 5/1/2011
William C. Gosnell, Attorney at Law
William C. Gosnell, Attorney at Law | William C. Gosnell
Legal separation is a divorce for people who have religious beliefs that don't allow divorces. Legally its the same.
Answer Applies to: Tennessee
Replied: 4/29/2011
Michael Anthony Wing, P.C.
Michael Anthony Wing, P.C. | Michael Anthony Wing
I really don't understand the reasons for a legal separation. Yes, they do exist, and divorce lawyers handle them. However, in my mind, if you are committed enough to not get divorced and to try a separation, you should just try counseling or any avenue to avoid divorce. If all efforts result in a "failed marriage," then just pay one time for a divorce, instead of twice for a separation and later, divorce. There are probably some reasons that exist that have just not come into my office yet, but I really don't see much use in the legal separation. Stay well.
Answer Applies to: Alabama
Replied: 4/28/2011
Arnold & Wadsworth
Arnold & Wadsworth | Brian Arnold
Legal separation is pretty close to a divorce. It would seem to make more sense to do a divorce. We offer free consultations and would be willing to discuss your case with you if you live in Utah. Feel Free to give us a call.
Answer Applies to: Utah
Replied: 4/27/2011
Law Office of John C. Volz
Law Office of John C. Volz | John C. Volz
There is no reason for a legal separation as opposed to a divorce unless you are elderly and know that you will not be remarrying ever, you have religious reasons to prevent you from divorce or there is a medical insurance issue. The forms and process are the same, the only outcome is at the end of a legal separation, you are not divorced and you cannot remarry. Yes a divorce attorney can handle a legal separation as well as a divorce.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 4/27/2011
    Reeves Law Firm, P.C.
    Reeves Law Firm, P.C. | Roy L. Reeves
    There is no such thing as Legal Separation in Texas. You are either married or not. If you are married, there is a community until you are divorce.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 4/27/2011
    Cody and Gonillo, LLP
    Cody and Gonillo, LLP | Christine Gonilla
    Yes there are legal separation actions that attorneys handle and in which alimony support and property distribution orders may be entered. One of the major reasons to obtain a legal separation rather than a divorce is to retain the medical insurance coverage for the non-employee spouse because in a divorce it will no longer be available to that spouse without having to pay a separate premium for up to 3 years. Also you can still inherit from the other spouse in a legal separation unless you waive that right. If you wish to discuss further you can contact our firm.
    Answer Applies to: Connecticut
    Replied: 4/27/2011
    Beaulier Law Office
    Beaulier Law Office | Maury Beaulier
    Most people seek a legal separation for religious reasons when their religious beliefs frown upon divorce. The issues in a legal separation are identical to those in a divorce. The only difference is that the marital relationship is not severed.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 4/27/2011
    Rhonda R. Werner Schultz, PL
    Rhonda R. Werner Schultz, PL | Rhonda R. Werner Schultz
    Florida does not allow legal separation. You are either married or divorced.
    Answer Applies to: Wisconsin
    Replied: 4/28/2011
    Theiler & Mourtos Attorneys at Law
    Theiler & Mourtos Attorneys at Law | Devan J. Theiler, Esq.
    While there is no such thing as "legal separation" in the State of New Jersey, there are legal steps you can take to protect your rights during and after a separation. Whether by agreement or Motion to the Court, you can get an Order regarding everything from custody and parenting time to alimony to preliminary distribution of personal goods. This will be done under the FD (non-dissolution) docket, rather than the FM (matrimonial dissolution) docket. Any divorce/family law attorney should be willing and able to assist you with the process.
    Answer Applies to: New Jersey
    Replied: 4/28/2011
    Pisarra and Grist
    Pisarra and Grist | David T. Pisarra
    There is one main reason for a Legal Separation over a Divorce - health insurance coverage. I cover this in my book, A MAN'S GUIDE TO CHILD CUSTODY and A MAN'S GUIDE TO DIVORCE STRATEGY, available online and as an E-Book on my website.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 4/27/2011
    Edwin Fahlen Attorney at Law
    Edwin Fahlen Attorney at Law | Edwin Fahlen
    Yes attorneys handle legal separations, at least this attorney does. Sometimes people opt for a legal separation instead of divorce to 1.) keep medical insurance, 2.) they do not have the statutory residence requirements for a dissolution of marriage, or 3.) religious reasons. However, if you become only legally separated you must file a new case, and then wait six months to become divorced before you can re-marry.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 4/27/2011
    Michael Apicella
    Michael Apicella | Apicella Law and Mediation
    Yes, there is such a thing as legal separation, which is only slightly different from a divorce, called a "dissolution of marriage" in California. The only difference is that when the legal separation process is finished, the parties are still legally married. I.e., their property rights, support rights, and if applicable, custody and visitation rights have been established. Yet, they are not divorced. Not many people chose the legal separation process. Most simply get divorced. Legal separation is available for people that for religious reasons chose not to get divorced, or for other reasons, such as a spouse's inability to obtain health insurance after divorce. Any competent family law lawyer that can handle a divorce should also be able to handle a legal separation. Feel free to call my office if any further questions.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 4/27/2011
    Glenn E. Tanner
    Glenn E. Tanner | Glenn E. Tanner
    Everything you can accomplish with a dissolution of marriage (divorce) you can accomplish with a legal separation except you're still married which is sometimes morally preferable and can allow the maintenance of health benefits only available to a spouse, or the qualification for other public benefits. Divorce attorneys do both. A separation can be easily converted to a divorce and you can't stop it. Good luck.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 4/27/2011
    Warner Center Law Offices of Donald F. Conviser
    Warner Center Law Offices of Donald F. Conviser | Donald F. Conviser
    There is such a thing as a Legal Separation, but there are very few reasons to get a Legal Separation. The only reasons that come to mind are for people who have religious beliefs against Divorce and people who choose to legally separate but remain legally married, for the purpose of affording one of the parties health insurance benefits through the other's employer, yet resolving all property and support issues between the parties that would be resolved in a Divorce. Once there is a Judgment of Legal Separation, in order to get a Divorce, an entirely new Divorce case must be filed and prosecuted to Judgment, which could not be entered until at least six months after service of process on the other party. Divorce Attorneys handle legal separation cases.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 4/27/2011
    Theodore W. Robinson, P.C.
    Theodore W. Robinson, P.C. | Theodore W. Robinson
    Yes, divorce lawyers prepare legal separations for people, however, I see very little purpose in such an interim procedure when you can just get a divorce. It used to be needed before we had no-fault divorce, but now it doesn't serve much of a purpose if either party is sure they no longer want to be married. I suggest you consult with an attorney of your choice and get a divorce rather than a separation if that is your intent.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 4/27/2011
    Harris Law Firm
    Harris Law Firm | Jennifer C. Robins
    In Oregon, there is such a thing as legal separation. A legal separation is a judgment which divides martial property and determines child custody, parenting time and support issues without actually ending the legal martial relationship. Some people choose this option for religious or other personal reasons. Most attorneys who handle divorce cases also handle legal separations.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 4/27/2011
    John E. Kirchner, Attorney at Law
    John E. Kirchner, Attorney at Law | John Kirchner
    In Colo, for all practical purposes the judicial process for a Legal Separation and a Dissolution of Marriage is virtually the same and all family law lawyers can handle both. After all property, debt, support, and parenting issues are decided everything is the same in both cases except that after a Legal Separation Decree is entered the parties are still legally married (thus prohibiting remarriage).

    Six months after that Decree is entered, either party can have it automatically converted to a Dissolution of Marriage. The reasons for doing only a Legal Separation are usually based either on religious or moral issues or in those few cases where maintaining the legal relationship is beneficial for financial reasons. The most common practical reason to use the Legal Separation is where employer based medical benefits plans can be preserved at much lower cost than if the parties divorce (typically military and government employees benefit most from this situation).
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 4/27/2011
    Law Office of Curry & Westgate
    Law Office of Curry & Westgate | Patrick Curry
    Legal separations are for religious and for health insurance reasons.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 4/27/2011
    Naziri Hanassab LLP
    Naziri Hanassab LLP | Vahid Naziri
    For religious reasons or for tax purposes.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 4/27/2011
    Law Office of Richard B. Kell
    Law Office of Richard B. Kell | Richard B. Kell
    There is no such thing as "legal separation" in Massachusetts. Other states require this in order for a spouse to obtain a support order while still being married.
    Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
    Replied: 4/27/2011
    The Davies Law Firm, P.A.
    The Davies Law Firm, P.A. | Robert F. Davies, Esq.
    Yes, it is possible to get a legal separation (in New Jersey called a 'bed and board divorce'). not normally used for much of anything, but it exists. Call me, tell me what is going on and what you want to accomplish, and I can give you some advice.
    Answer Applies to: New Jersey
    Replied: 4/27/2011
    Goldberg Jones
    Goldberg Jones | Zephyr Hill
    Yes. There are reasons to get legally separated and or divorced. Family court and family law attorneys handle both types of cases as they are very similar. If you are trying to decide which rout to go, you should consult an attorney before you make any decisions.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 4/27/2011
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