Legal Separations Attorney in Tucson, AZ

A legal separation is a proceeding that is very similar to a dissolution of marriage. Similar pleadings to those that are filed in a dissolution of marriage action are 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, awards spousal maintenance, if applicable, and provides for legal decision-making, parenting time and child support for 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.

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Legal separations 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. Although pre-existing conditions used to be one of the primary reasons to obtain a legal separation instead of a divorce, the passage of the Affordable Care Act (“Obama Care”) has largely eliminated the need for a legal separation based on an inability to obtain health insurance.

A Legal Separation may be converted to a Dissolution of Marriage, but all of the pleadings have to be amended and re-filed, which is time consuming and expensive. A court may revisit spousal maintenance and child support awards when converting a Legal Separation to a Dissolution, but a court is not permitted to modify any division of property or debt.

* The information contained in this message is general and should not substitute for the advice and counsel of a licensed attorney.