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What if my state doesn’t allow a legal separation?

December 3, 2018 Our Blog

Even though people who marry each other expect to spend the rest of their lives together, sometimes unforeseen circumstances occur. Relationships break down, and people grow apart. When a marriage falls to pieces, many people’s first course of action is divorce. But divorce isn’t always an option for everybody. In certain circumstances, an abrupt end to the marriage isn’t feasible. For some couples, ending the marriage at all won’t work.

There are a number of different reasons that a couple may not immediately file for a divorce after breaking up.

One of the reasons has to do with state laws. Divorce and separation laws differ from state to state. There are many states that require that couples have spent some time living separately before they’re permitted to file a “no fault” divorce claim.

Other couples may be weathering some of the most difficult times of their lives. One or both spouses may be struggling with severe mental illness or a substance abuse disorder. Living together may be unhealthy and impossible. In these cases, the healthiest option is for the couple to separate. However, the spouses don’t always want to break up. Sometimes they wish to live separately while continuing to work on the issues in their marriage. The hope is that with enough time and work, they can rekindle their marriage.

There have been many cases in which religious beliefs prevent a couple from divorcing, even if the spouses find living together impossible. When this is the case, separating without divorcing is often the only option.

No matter the circumstances, a couple who needs to separate without divorcing can ask the court to grant them a legal separation. A legal separation is a legally binding arrangement in which couples agree upon their responsibilities while they live apart. Separation agreements deal with detailed issues like the division of assets, allocation of debts, financial support systems, and child custody arrangements.

Legal separation is a process very similar to divorce proceedings. In fact, if couples do choose to divorce later, many will use their legal separation terms as the groundwork for their divorce agreement. The difference between legal separation and divorce is that in a legal separation, the spouses are still married. They cannot marry another person.

The majority of states in the US allow couples to legally separate. However, not every one of them does. If you’re living in an area that doesn’t allow legal separation, you may be wondering how to codify your spousal agreement. Arrangements about child custody and finances must be made using other processes you’ll find within your jurisdiction.

Temporary Orders

You can ask the court in your jurisdiction to issue a temporary order about your child custody and financial issues. Such an order would be created on a temporary basis while you and your spouse live apart. Other couples who live apart may use the same legal process regardless of the strength of their marriage.

When you use this process, it’s important to get in contact with a family law attorney. These attorneys are experienced with navigating family court. They understand how to negotiate agreements that work best for every family member.

Attempt to Reconcile

If you don’t want to divorce your spouse, consider trying to reconcile your differences. Temporary court orders can be used to put some space between you. You can work out your differences in a constructive way. Family counseling is often a good option for couples with a marriage on the rocks.

Think About Divorce

If you absolutely cannot reconcile your marriage, divorce may be the healthiest option available. It’s an unpleasant alternative, but it’s a way of taking care of yourself. Sometimes speaking to a counselor or clergy member can help you come to terms with the choice. If you’re still hoping to reconcile, remember that you can remarry your spouse after a divorce.

Move to a New State

There are simply some circumstances in which both reconciliation and divorce are absolutely impossible. When this is the case, think about moving to a state where legal separation is possible. This decision is major and shouldn’t be undertaken lightly. It might also be difficult depending on custody arrangements with your children.

Find Legally Binding Language

You need to find some way to have the court recognize your separation and lay out legal terms. Failing to do so means neither spouse is held accountable to agreements they make.

How much will it cost to file for divorce?

A divorce is an important decision that most people do not undertake lightly. Divorce means severing most ties with another person on a largely permanent basis. Before making any further decisions, most people would like to have an idea of the kind of costs they will face before and during the divorce proceedings. Exact costs can be very hard to figure out. They will vary depending on many factors. This makes it hard to predict how much money may be required to complete the process. At the same time, it is possible to have a rough legal idea of the kinds of costs that each person is likely to see as the divorce continues. For example, a simple divorce with no joint property for a marriage that’s only been in place for a year or two can be easily and quickly resolved often with only a few costs such as filing fees. The same is not true of a more complicated divorce. The parties in question may have many legal issues that need to resolved such as who gets to keep the house, what kind of custody arrangements will be in place and how to divide any assets such as a retirement account.

Certain Costs

Keep in mind certain kinds of fees that are likely to pop up as the divorce begins and as it goes forward. Most couples are better off hiring a lawyer. Many couples may choose to hire their own personal lawyer who can best represent them and not the other party in the marriage. Separate lawyers mean additional fees for each lawyer. divorce lawyers typically charge on an hourly basis. The divorce lawyer may also charge for other issues related to the divorce such as filing papers as well as the services of professionals related to the case. This includes the services of paralegals who may be needed in order to work on aspects of the case. It can also include highly specific documentation that may be necessary to file in order to support the client’s case for a given desired resolution to the divorce.

A Complicated Divorce

Complicated divorces are not uncommon. Many people buy homes together and have one or more children. One parent may sacrifice large parts of their career to care for the children. A parent may also have property and other items they brought to the marriage. This can include a house and other personal possessions. In addition, these kinds of assets may be personal and professional qualifications. One party may have a professional degree in accounting or speech therapy that enables them to earn a good living. The other party may have helped finance this degree but may not have it themselves. All of these issues may need to be worked out as the divorce continues. This can increase the time that it takes to complete the divorce. In general, the longer the divorce goes on, the greater the costs that are incurred for both parties involved.

Custody Issues

Another legal area that can push up the costs of a divorce are the amount of money that each party wants to spend in order to gain custody. In many instances, both parties will agree to joint custody. However, there may be vast disagreement about the children or even the jointly owned pets. One party may want to move to another part of the country in order to be closer to family for help after the divorce. The other party may oppose this move on the grounds that this prevents them from seeing their children. In order to work out such issues, it is important for all parties involved to prove their case in a court of law. Doing so means that the lawyers may need to do things such as investigate the other person’s private life. This can add to the cost of the divorce.

The Price

A divorce may cost as little as several hundred dollars. It can also cost thousands of dollars. In general, the sooner the divorce is resolved, the lower the overall costs for all those involved. When a divorce continues to go on over several months, this will push up the costs. This is also true if the person wishes to go in front of a judge or agrees to meet with the other person in a simple office setting. It’s best to take all such costs in account before making the decision to get a divorce



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