Legal Separation

A legal separation means that a married couple is separating in the eyes of the law, but has not carried through with completely terminating their marriage. While they may live apart and have separate lives, they are still legally bound through marriage. There are benefits to a legal separation, along with reasons that a couple may choose to not simply pursue divorce. This may be that there is still a hope for the relationship to be reconciled, for religious or financial reasons or other personal causes. Medical benefits may also be granted to a separated couple, giving them incentive to separate rather than divorce.

It offers an alternative, allowing couples to have different residences while retaining their marital status. This process still requires that all issues of property division, spousal support, child custody, child support and all other issues attendant in a divorce be resolved as you would in a divorce proceeding, In a legal separation, there is no mandatory waiting period, i.e., if you and your spouse have agreed on all issues, you can obtain a decree of legal separation immediately.

How to Become Legally Separated

The process for a legal separation can follow many of the guidelines of a divorce but may have differences depending on the court so it is important to look up the regulations for the court the separation is being sought through. As with a divorce, a petition will need to be filed with the court. A petition for a separation can be found on the website for the Washington Court. The party will be served or both parties may choose to pursue the separation together.

If children are involved, a parenting plan will need to be formed and child support payments may need to be established. After everything is in order, the documents can be drawn up and signed. During the process of actually getting court approval and finding a resolution, temporary orders may be necessary to establish the division of assets or debts, child visitation, child support and child custody. These can be set up by the courts to decide who will watch the children, who will pay for what and other issues that will need to be handled while a case is being resolved.

The process of obtaining a legal separation from your spouse can be made that much easier with the assistance of a skilled attorney from Blair & Kim, PLLC. Our dedicated staff has extensive knowledge in the areas of divorce, legal separation and other family law matters. By working closely with our clients, our attorneys are able to develop and negotiate agreements for property division, child custody, child support and any other aspects of legal separation.