A legal separation does not dissolve the marriage, but it does provide a solution for couples who wish to part ways.
A Marital Separation Agreement is a contract between you and your spouse that can deal with many issues from division of personal property to child custody arrangements.
Essentially, it is a way to resolve many of the issues that arise during a divorce, without legally ending the marriage. This may be the right option for you and your spouse for financial reasons, religious reasons, or if you are simply not ready to get divorced quite yet.
A Legal Separation is a separate legal proceeding from a divorce proceeding. If the parties obtain a legal separation, the Court issues a Decree which states that the parties are legally separated and has provisions in the Decree that address the rights and obligations of the husband and the wife while they remain legally separated.
The main difference between a legal separation and a divorce is that couples remain legally married even after a Decree of Legal Separation has been issued. Legal separations are rarely done (some reasons for pursuing a legal separation rather than a divorce may be for religious reasons or for a couple who may want to remain married but may want to separate their financial obligations).
A legal separation is different than a couple just physically separating or living in separate households. As the term implies, the parties remain married and therefore, cannot remarry to another person.
Additionally, in cases where there are children involved, prejudice may be created against a spouse who chooses to move out of the house that may impact a later custody decision in the event of a divorce. A legal separation agreement will help to offset that prejudice and it is an effective tool to help couples protect their individual interests during what would otherwise be a period of informal separation.
If you are not looking for a divorce, but desire legal separation from a partner, a legal separation agreement may be right for you. As this is a less than common procedure, it is important to turn to an attorney with experience to ensure that your needs are met. At Clausen & Hassan, our lawyers pride themselves on how they serve our clients.