When Are We Legally Separated?

Legal separation allows a couple to remain married, maintaining the financial advantages of marriage while being able to live separate lives. An absolute divorce completely dissolves the marriage. If the couple reconciles, the court can set aside the judgment of legal separation and revoke any orders in place relating to maintenance, child support, and custody.
Couples who want to end their marriage need to know the distinctions between legal separation and absolute divorce. If one wants to have his or her marriage contract completely severed, he or she must file a complaint for absolute divorce in a court that has proper jurisdiction. Upon the issuance of a divorce decree, he or she is entitled to contract another marriage because the marital union with the former spouse is completely annulled.

Legal separation, on the other hand, has different effects. There are two ways on how a couple in a failed marriage can affect legal separation. The first one is through an extrajudicial settlement wherein they will come into a negotiation table and discuss some legal arrangements with respect to their properties, children and other important matters. During this phase, it is highly recommended that their respective Waukesha family law attorneys assist them. If they cannot stand being in the same room, the attorneys of the parties can meet instead and have all the settlements approved by their clients in another meeting.

The second way of legal separation is through court litigation wherein the wife or husband will institute an action in court praying for the issuance of a decree for legal separation. The filing party must state in his or her complaint all the grounds for legal separation. There is a need to present the necessary evidence in order to convince the judge hearing the case that the parties be judicially declared as legally separated.

It must be noted that in legal separation, the absolute community of property or conjugal partnership of gains of the couple will be dissolved and liquidated. They will be legally separated and each of them will receive their respective shares. If there is pre-nuptial agreement with respect to the division of the properties obtained during the validity of the marriage, the terms thereof will be respected. However, if there is none, the settlement between the parties can be given effect. In the absence thereof, the judge will be the one who will decide on how the properties will be distributed to the husband and wife based on the dictates of justice and equity.

If you are planning to end your marriage with your spouse, then the first choice that you have to make is to get either legal separation or absolute divorce. To help you make better decisions, you can hire the services of a legal counsel and ask the latter to explain to you the different effects of the two remedies provided by law.

References: Legal Separation

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