Legal separation is similar to divorce/dissolution of marriage, but there are some significant legal differences.
Both spouses must agree to legal separation for the court to proceed with the action. If either spouse determines he or she wants a divorce rather than a legal separation, the court will deny the request for legal separation and grant a divorce. Generally, married couples seeking to end their marriage choose legal separation instead of divorce because of religious reasons.
Similar to divorce proceedings, in a legal separation action the court enters orders for the same issues, including the following: parenting plan, child support and property/debt division.
Although legal separation provides court orders similar to a divorce, a Decree of Legal Separation does not legally divorce one spouse from the other. Upon legal separation, neither person may legally marry another person until the legal separation is converted to a Decree of Dissolution. If legally separated spouses want to convert a Decree of Legal Separation to a Decree of Dissolution, the legally separated spouses must wait six months after the Decree of Legal Separation is entered.
Finally, the Social Security Administration does not recognize a Decree of Legal Separation in its determination of social security benefits.
At Eagle Law Offices, P.S. our team of legal professionals can help you with legal separation, divorce, child support and other family law matters. Please contact Eagle Law Offices, P.S. for a no-obligation phone consultation at 206-426-6961.