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Legal Separation

Practice Areas – Legal Separation

Legal Separation can be maintained on the same grounds as dissolution actions. However, the significant difference between legal separation and dissolution is that legal separation does not terminate marital status. Legal separation is an alternative to dissolution and oftentimes sought when the marriage has broken down and for religious or other personal reasons, the Petitioner does not want the legal status relationship absolutely severed. Legal separation is similar to a dissolution action in that it conclusively settles and determines the spouses’ property rights and financial responsibilities to one another and to their minor children. Legal separation leaves the marriage intact. In essence, the parties remain married in name only, without the rights and responsibilities that attach to marital status. Neither party can enter into another marriage until the marriage is dissolved by death or judgment of dissolution.

Once a judgment for legal separation has been established, the parties acquire no further community property and they do not owe each other spousal duty of care and support unless ordered by the court pursuant to the judgment.

A judgment for legal separation does not preclude either party from later obtaining a judgment for dissolution.