Unlike a divorce, a legal separation does not legally terminate a marriage. The parties seeking a legal separation formally request the court to render orders concerning property division, spousal support, and allocation of parental rights and responsibilities (such as parenting time and child support). However, the parties still remain married. That said, the parties live separate and apart. After a court grants a legal separation, the separation agreement sets forth orders binding each party to specific obligations, much like a divorce decree.
Legal separations are not common for a couple of reasons. For one, a legal separation puts parties through much of the red tape and costs of a divorce without the ultimate outcome. Similar to any lawsuit, filing for a legal separation is a burdensome undertaking. Second, usually, it does not make sense for a party to file for a legal separation. If either party thinks a divorce might follow the legal separation, then financially, a legal separation exponentially increases the parties’ costs.
Why a legal separation
Separations may be fitting when a couple truly intends to stay married for a substantial duration of time for whatever reason, but for all pragmatic purposes, it aims to live like they are divorced. In such circumstances, the parties might file for a legal separation, which requires court oversight to enforce their living arrangement. O’Brien Law can help determine whether a client’s individual situation warrants a legal separation. And if so, the firm effectuates the separation in a financially mindful manner tailored to the client’s needs and the needs of his or her family.