There are many reasons why married couples separate during their marriage. It is important to understand first of all the differences between legal separation and divorce. First, legal separation means that you live apart yet remain married. During a legal separation, there is usually an arrangement for visitation, custody, child support, spousal support and so on. However, the marriage remains in tact. Legal separation is often the first step taken by couples who are considering divorce.
When you are selecting a family law attorney to guide you through the process of a legal separation, understand that many of the documents prepared by the family law attorney are the same as those used for divorce. While you may be only considering a legal separation, the process is usually the same. Make sure that the family law lawyer that you select is well schooled in the process of legal separation and divorce, as this will be very helpful should you and your spouse decide to complete the process and become divorced.
Legal separation means the spouses are living apart yet the marriage is not dissolved. A family law lawyer will assist each party in the process of filing for legal separation and completing all of the necessary steps. It is important that these steps be completed in a way that is favorable to both parties in fairness and justness. Should the couple decide to completely divorce, normally the judge will utilize any legal agreements made during the legal separation as a basis for the finalized papers of a divorce.
While in most states legal representation is not necessary for an agreement to be made, there should be an order filed with the courts to protect both parties legally. Legal separation is not established just because you live apart. A few steps should be followed to ensure that each party is legally protected. The party that is moving out should remove their name from any lease or mortgage if possible. If the spouses cannot agree on joint bank accounts, then the accounts should be frozen until such a time that an agreement can be made.
Other things that need to be taken care of can be covered by the attorney that you choose to represent you in the matter. In some circumstances, attorneys can be very expensive. However, the piece of mind that you can obtain by having an attorney do the work for you is important. Attorneys deal with things such as legal separation and divorce on a regular basis. Make sure that you follow through on any and all obligations that are included in the separation agreement. Not doing so will result in further legal issues for you and also will not help you when you go before the judge for finalization of a divorce should you decide to do so. In the case of children, if you are to pay support and do not do so, you can find yourself lodged in jail for non-payment. It is important that all agreements you make are followed up on to ensure a civil legal separation and/or divorce, should you find that you cannot reconcile.