The experience and knowledge of a trial lawyer is an advantage in divorce and separation cases.
The legal term for divorce is Dissolution of Marriage. It is a very stressful and difficult proceeding for most people, especially when there are children involved. In most cases, when two people enter into marriage, they can’t imagine that their union won’t last forever. Unfortunately, statistics are high for divorce in the United States.
When considering divorce, you need to know what your rights are, in particular regarding access to your home and bank accounts, who pays for what and keeping insurance for yourself and your dependents. Everything must be negotiated and worked out to the mutual satisfaction of both parties, and you need an experienced trial lawyer who will be able to protect your rights.
Married people who feel they need a break from the marriage but are unsure if they want to get a divorce, sometimes consider a separation first. Other reasons could be for religious beliefs or wanting to keep the marriage intact because of children. It is not uncommon to stay together for the benefit of insurance benefits that would be lost with a divorce.
A separation is different than a divorce in that it means while you are still legally married to your spouse, you are living apart. A separation affects the financial responsibilities between you and your spouse before the divorce is final. Until a dissolution is granted by the court, you remain legally married.
There are basically three types of separation.
- Trial separation
- Permanent separation
- Legal separation
Of the three types of separation, in most states, only one – legal separation – changes your legal status, but all three of them can affect your legal rights. The same legal rules apply as when you are married. In most states, money, and property is still considered to be jointly owned of both spouses during a legal separation. However, some insurance companies consider a legal separation the same as divorce and may terminate the insurance.
When you and your spouse live apart but do not intend to reconcile, and you are still legally married, is considered to be a permanent separation. Depending on which state you live in, your legal status changes. For example, assets and debts that are acquired during the separation belong only to the spouse who acquires them. Neither spouse is responsible for any debts the other incurs, nor are you entitled to property or income that the other spouse acquires or earns. There are other important considerations regarding a permanent separation that your trial attorney can explain them all to you.
Legal separation is a legal process by which a married choose a de facto separation, which is granted by court order, and remain legally married, but who will live separately and want to matters such as child support, child custody, finances, and property kept separate from the other spouse during the separation. A de facto, or legal separation usually applies when the couple expects (or intends) permanent separation, rather than a temporary separation. Usually, debts that are incurred during separation are not considered to be joint debts if they end up getting divorced.
Additionally, property rights can be divided, as is child custody, child and spousal support (alimony) rights and obligations. Obtaining a court-approved legal separation makes enforcing these rights easier in the event of a dispute.
Similarly to a divorce, a legal separation has the same requirements (grounds) as a divorce. Incompatibility, abandonment, adultery, and cruelty. And child support, child custody, and spousal support can only be modified with a court’s approval. MO Bar Case Law
Craig M. Divine is an experienced family law trial lawyer. Contact his office today and he can explain in detail how the different types of separation work and help to determine which might be in your best interest.
Divine Law Office LLC – Kansas City, MO – 104 W 9th St., Suite 404, Kansas City, MO 64105 – 816-474-2240