A legal separation is a proceeding that is very similar to a dissolution of marriage. The same paperwork that is filed in a dissolution of marriage action needs to be filed in a legal separation action. The purpose of a legal separation is to get a Decree of Legal Separation entered which permanently divides the parties’ property and debts and provides for custody, parenting time and child support of their children. The primary difference between a Decree of Dissolution of Marriage (a divorce) and a Decree of Legal Separation is that parties to a Decree of Legal Separation cannot remarry because they remain legally married to their spouse. Decrees of Legal Separation are used most frequently in cases where religious beliefs prohibit one or both parties from obtaining a divorce or where one party has a pre-existing medical condition, is insured by his or her spouse’s medical insurance and cannot obtain alternative medical insurance due to the pre-existing condition. A Decree of Legal Separation may be converted to a Decree of Dissolution of Marriage, but all the paperwork has to be amended and refiled, which is time-consuming and expensive.
* The information contained in this message is general and should not substitute for the advice and counsel of a licensed attorney.