Legal Separation is far less common than divorce. Usually we find people are asking about legal separation because they think that legal separation will be easier quicker and faster than a divorce. This is not generally true. There are two methods of legal separation. We will explain both at your consultation and help you decide what is appropriate for you.
Legal Separation Agreement:
This is a written agreement that is signed by both parties in the presence of a notary public. Usually you and your spouse are agreeing to terms that could be put into place in the event that your marriage eventually ends in divorce. For example a legal separation agreement will normally make provisions for division of marital property and debt. If there are children, the issues of custody and, visitation and child support must be addressed. A marital separation agreement is a contract. It usually works best in situations in which perhaps a couple is not ready to divorce yet but wants some ground rules in place while they are going through a separation which may or may not ultimately end in divorce.
Legal Separation through the court:
A legal separation which goes through the court is very similar to a divorce. The process starts with a Complaint for Separate Maintenance. The major difference is that at the end there is a decree of separate maintenance which sets forth the judges decisions regarding division of community property and debt, child issues, spousal support issues. You will still be husband and wife. Usually people only do a legal separation for reasons such as religious beliefs or because one spouse still needs to be carried under the other spouse’s medical insurance.
We are experienced in legal separation. We provide a free initial consultation to educate you about the process and answer your specific questions. We offer affordable prices and will give you a detailed quote so you understand where your money is going.
Come in for the free consultation so we can discuss your particular situation and circumstances. Typically in the consultation we cover custody basics, your particular situation, how to deal with the other parent during the process, and last, but not least, quote you a price and discuss payment options and plans.
There are many more issues and complicating factors not touched on here. We strongly recommend the free consultation at which we can give personalized attention to you and your needs.
Your Particular Situation:
Just like the people going through them, no two legal separations are exactly alike. What are your reasons for seeking a legal separation rather than a divorce? How long have you and the other parent been separated? Are there children involved? Are there issues of domestic violence or drug and alcohol abuse?
At this point you can go home and think about it or you can chose to get started. Once you decide to get started we will do an information intake so we have the information we will need to prepare your court documents. We will have the documents ready in 2 to 3 business days. You will come back to our office to review the documents with the family law paralegal who will explain them in detail and answer any questions you have before signing. Now we can sign and notarize the documents. The fees we quote you will include notary and court costs. Documents will be e-filed by us. Usually you don’t need to do anything except give us information, sign the documents, pay us, and go for one court appearance.
IT’S COMPLICATED, BUT WE MAKE THIS STUFF AS SIMPLE AS WE CAN.