Legal Separation

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Sometimes when two spouses are struggling, a legal separation can be the answer, before the finality of divorce is necessary. In the state of Washington, you can obtain a legal separation. In contrast to a divorce, a legal separation doesn’;t mean that your marriage is over; it basically implies that you and your spouse decide to carry on with your own separate lives while remaining legally wedded. Many people choose to do this in order to decide if they want to continue to work on their marriage, or if they do want to move forward with a divorce. It is important to note that you do not have to have a legal separation in order to file for divorce. There are several reasons where a legal separation in Washington may be your best choice to include:

  • Financial reasons – keeping health benefits and splitting childcare costs rather than having to pay child support. You can also legally divide your property assets under a legal separation
  • Religious reasons – if it is against your religion to get a divorce
  • Unsure – you are not sure if you want a divorce and need some extra time to decide what your next step in life will be
  • Military – if you or your spouse is in the military and have not yet been married 10 years you may want to continue your marriage to reap the benefits provided by the military after this allotted time

If after a legal separation you decide that you do want to dissolve your marriage, it can be converted to a divorce decree. A motion to do so can be made in court if you have been legally separated for 6 months or more. The spouse who files this motion must give notice to the other, even though they do not have to agree with the divorce. On the other hand, if you and your spouse have spent your time apart and realize you still want to be married, you can file a motion to vacate and reverse the legal separation if it was already approved. If it is simply pending, you can ask for a dismissal.

Even though a legal separation is sometimes (not always) less complicated and emotional than a divorce, it is still a critical time to have legal counsel on your side. The team at Community Law Firm is ready to help you get started with your legal separation so that you can take the next steps in your life to be happy. Even if you are unsure of what you want to do, call us today at 206-771-434 for our Seattle office, or 425-551-8075 for Bellevue.