Legal Separation and Divorce Are Different
We think of divorce as the only tool to disentangle a couple in turmoil. Divorce is the most commonly used tool, but it is not the only tool available. Sometimes, a legal separation suits the needs of the couple better than a divorce.
Understanding what a legal separation is and what it does can help a couple decide which is better for their particular circumstances. Learn more here about a legal separation petition and what it entails. You can also talk to an experienced family law attorney at Wirth Law Office – Wagoner.
Why choose a legal separation instead of a divorce?
There are times when a couple should seek a separation rather than a divorce. Some couples just need breathing room and some time apart before working on the relationship again. Other couples may have concrete financial reasons to stay legally married.
This can happen when one spouse’s employer-sponsored medical insurance covers dependents. A divorce would change the dependent status and negate coverage. Finally, legal separation can make a future divorce easier. Most of the issues required to be resolved in a divorce must also be resolved in a separation.
A Legal Separation Begins With a Petition
Much like a divorce, a legal separation begins with the filing of a petition in family court. The Petition for Legal Separation is much like a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage.
It lists any children of the marriage, the date of the marriage, and asks the court to legally recognize a couple’s separation from each other. The couple lives apart, but the marriage is not dissolved. That means that the parties are not free to remarry.
Differences Between Filing for Legal Separation and Divorce
While Oklahoma has both a state and county residency requirement for divorce petitions, there is no residency requirement for legal separations. You must be a resident at the time of filing but do not need to have been a resident for 6 months prior to filing. That means that if all your paperwork is in order, your legal separation can be granted the same day as the filing of the petition.
Issues That Must Be Resolved
In order for a petition for legal separation to be granted, all issues regarding the division of property and debts, all child and spousal support, and all issues regarding custody and visitation must be agreed upon. The spouses must enter into an agreement with regard to all of these issues.
The agreement can be attached and submitted to the court along with the petition. You will want to consult with a Wagoner family law attorney regarding these issues. Legal separations can always be modified. In fact, a petition for divorce can be filed at any time after the Petition for Legal Separation if one or both of the spouses decides that a divorce would fit their needs better.
If you want help determining whether divorce is the right option for you, contact the skilled divorce attorneys at Wagoner’s Wirth Law Office.
Free Consultation with a Wagoner Family Law Attorney
Wirth Law Office – Wagoner offers its clients the best possible divorce, child custody, and child support representation in the Wagoner, Oklahoma area at reasonable rates. Get the help you need.
We invite you to schedule a free consultation to discuss what we can do for you. Contact Wirth Law Office – Wagoner at (918) 485-0335 to schedule your free consultation. You can also fill out the form at the top of the page.