Petition for Legal Separation

If you have decided to legally separate from your spouse, the first step in this process is to apply for legal separation. Before you do that, you should know that legal separation is a binding legal contract that is just as important as a divorce. The only difference is that on paper, your marriage and the legal rights that come with it remain intact. In other words, as with a divorce, there will be a sharing of living conditions, finances and custody. If you meet the state`s residency requirements, apply for separation in the county where you live. If your spouse does not agree with the provision in the application, he or she has the right to file a counter-motion. If this happens and you can`t agree through mediation or collaborative law, you`ll need to go to a judge to resolve the issues you couldn`t agree on. In some cases, legal separation can be as complicated as obtaining a divorce. With your application for legal separation, you submit your legal separation agreement. Make sure the agreement can be distributed all matters such as custody, child support, visitation, spousal support, such as marital property (such as a house or vehicles you bought together), who lives where, who pays what debts, any rules and guidelines about dating other people; which may be considered adultery in some states. Do NOT accept anything in a separation agreement that you would not accept if you had to negotiate a divorce settlement.

If the residency requirements are met, submit an application for legal separation to the court. You can do this by contacting an attorney, using online resources (such as your state government`s website), or contacting your clerk and filing yourself, also known as prose. Note that there is a fee to submit your legal separation forms. In California, for example, the filing fee is around $435, though fees vary from county to county. If you and your spouse do not jointly apply for separation, you must have your spouse served once you have filed your application for legal separation. As with a divorce, your spouse has a certain amount of time (usually 30 days) to respond to your request for legal separation. First, you must meet your state`s residency requirements. The conditions of residence are the same for legal separation and divorce. To learn more about your state`s residency requirements, check out your state`s divorce laws.

For example, in California, a married couple can apply for legal separation if at least one of you lives in the state. Similarly, in the case of domestic partnerships, as long as the domestic partnership has been registered in California, both parties can apply for legal separation even if you don`t live in the state. If your domestic partnership is not registered in California, one of you must live in the state to apply for a legal separation. NOTE: Legal separation does NOT end a marriage. Even if a judgment of separation has been issued, the parties remain legally married, unless and until a judgment of dissolution is registered. However, the court may, where appropriate, assist the other party in accordance with a proper request and notice. Since laws vary from state to state, you should consult an attorney to make sure you`re taking the right steps to legally protect yourself. You can apply for legal separation by filing an application stating that you and your spouse live separately and separately and providing information similar to that of an application for dissolution of marriage.

You must apply for legal separation in the country where: It is also important to note that when applying for legal separation, whatever you agree to in a legal separation agreement may take precedence if you then file for divorce. For example, if you agree to let your partner live in the marital home when you apply for a legal separation and continue to make mortgage payments, a judge may order you to continue to do so after a divorce. If your spouse agrees to the provisions of the application, both spouses only need to sign and authenticate the agreement so that the clerk of the court can include it in court records for approval by a judge. Keep in mind, however, that anything you do before the court signs the separation agreement can affect some outcomes, especially if it`s personal belongings or custody, says David Reischer, Esq., a family lawyer and CEO of For example, “a judge may consider that a person who leaves his home is abandoned. The court could interpret the person who left the house as abandonment of the relationship and loss of the right to claim property or custody at a later date,” Reischer says. Once a judge has reviewed and signed your legal separation agreement, it will be filed with the court clerk and recorded on file. Once it is filed with the court, you must make sure to keep a copy for your own records and follow the guidelines set out in the separation agreement. Are you thinking about divorce? Consider a trial separation first Why and when should you consider a prenuptial agreement after marriage Not all forms can be accepted in all Arizona courts – you should contact the clerk of the court where you will file to confirm the use of a particular form, determine if additional forms are needed, and check the registration fee. The Supreme Court assumes no responsibility for the actions of users of these documents, including reliance on their content. Marriage certificates and licences: everything you need to know Orders to protect against domestic violence or unlawful harassment required. What is the difference between legal separation and divorce? (If your spouse enters into the accepted petition or service participation agreement, or agrees to join the petition by signing the agreement on the last page of the petition, service of the petition and summons are not required.) What you need to know before hiring a pro bono family law lawyer.

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