How Does Legal Separation Work in Arizona?
Most people assume that separation is a temporary thing. It’s something a wife and husband agree to when they feel like they need time apart. They figure they’ll separate for a little bit and then decide how they want to proceed. They don’t realize that there is such a thing as a legal separation. Arizona family lawyers assist clients with legal separations all the time. Sometimes it is just in preparation for an eventual divorce. Other times, it’s a very strategic move. Here, we’ll talk about how a legal separation works in Arizona and what it means for you and your spouse. If you still have questions or feel that you’re ready to proceed with your own separation, call our office and talk to one of our Arizona family lawyers.
How is a Separation Different from Divorce?
The easiest way to explain how legal separation is different from a divorce is to say that one is temporary and the other is permanent. Once you get divorced and the judge stamps your final divorce decree, you have no legal ties to your ex. Yes, you have to pay child support and alimony for years to come. But aside from that, you have no legal relationship. With a separation, on the other hand, you’re still legally married. You may live in separate houses and date other people, but you are, for all intents and purposes, still married.
Why Would Someone Want to Get Separated?
There are several reasons why someone would want to get separated instead of getting divorced. Imagine that your spouse has just been diagnosed with cancer. Their doctors expect that they’ll treatment for more than a year or even longer. You know that there’s no way your spouse would qualify for decent health insurance if the two of you got divorced. For their health, it’s important that you stay legally married. But the two of you don’t think the marriage is salvageable. What you can do is get legally separated and keep your spouse on your health insurance policy. Another reason you may want to get separated is that you think the marriage is over but are hoping a short break may do you both some good. After a year, you can always revisit the idea of getting divorced or of staying together. Your Arizona family lawyer can help you decide which direction you want to proceed.
Can You Get Alimony During a Separation?
One question a lot of our clients have is whether they’re entitled to alimony when they get separated. Typically, a separation agreement will indicate whether you’ll receive alimony or not. It’s a bit different because there isn’t a judge who is determining if you’re entitled to alimony or not. The agreement is between you and your spouse. If you can’t come to terms, then you may have to hire an Arizona family lawyer for pursue a divorce instead. Hopefully, it won’t come to that. Your Arizona family lawyer will try to come up with an agreement that is fair to everyone.
Talk to a Seasoned Arizona Family Lawyer for More Information
Some people who are considering divorce just don’t ready to give up on their marriage yet. They want a break but want to make sure certain terms are nailed down between them. That’s when it’s a good idea to call an Arizona family lawyer to draft a legal separation agreement for you. You can always convert it to a divorce down the road if need be. However, there’s nothing permanent about the separation agreement and you can always resume your marriage as you see fit. Call and talk to a skilled Arizona family lawyer today.