Legal Separation: What is the Process?

The parties of a marriage in Arizona might have a variety of legal reasons why they want to remain legally married but become legally separated. In the context of the procedures involved in a legal separation, they are much like those in a divorce, but the parties must agree to legal separation. In a divorce, no such agreement is required; one party to the marriage can petition for a divorce with or without the consent of the other party. Due process of law requires a Petition for Legal Separation, service of it on the respondent and a final decree. A trusted Scottsdale family law attorney can help you determine if this process is right for you and your family.

Property Division and Custody legal separation
Much like in a divorce, certain property division issues might be agreed upon; others might remain an issue, such as division of assets and debts, spousal support, child custody, support, and visitation. On those issues, the parties can come to agreements through their mutual attorneys, go to hearing in court, or agree to mediate remaining issues. When a judge enters a decree, the financial and community property interests of the parties are terminated and final. Issues of child custody, support, and visitation are subject to change if the moving party can show changed circumstances.

Legal separation does not operate to allow either of the parties to remarry. A formal divorce decree must be entered for that purpose.

Converting a Separation Petition into a Divorce
A pending separation case can be converted into a divorce case on a routine basis. If the parties are already legally separated, a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage must be filed, but it will bear the same case number as the separation case. The terms of the separation decree will be the terms of the divorce judgment.

If you or a loved one are struggling with your separation case and are in need of legal guidance, contact our experienced and effective Scottsdale family law attorney. Attorney Hope Fruchtman would be pleased to advise you on the finer points of legal separation as opposed to divorce. Contact the Law Office of Hope E. Fruchtman to arrange a case consultation today.