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Is a legal separation a good idea if you’re unsure about divorce?

Considering Legal Separation? Here’s What You Need to Know

If you have reached a problematic point in your marriage, but are uncertain about proceeding with divorce, you may wonder what options are available to you. One course you can consider taking in many states is a legal separation. You may wonder whether a legal separation is a good idea if you are unsure about divorce.

Reasons for Pursuing a Legal Separation

There are three general reasons why a couple might consider pursuing a legal separation as opposed to a divorce.

  1. One reason why people seek a legal separation as opposed to a divorce is based on their religious beliefs.
  2. A second reason why people elect a legal separation is because of some important consideration like maintaining insurance coverage.
  3. Finally, if a couple truly is uncertain about ending a marriage, but can not cohabitate effectively as husband and wife at this time, legal separation can be an advisable course.

Not All States Have Legal Separation Laws

Before you proceed too far down the road with the idea of pursuing a legal separation, you need to make certain that your state actually has a law permitting this type of proceeding. The best way to understand the laws in your state regarding legal separation is to schedule an initial consultation with a family law lawyer.

The Actual Impact of Legal Separation

At its essence, a legal separation does everything that can happen in a divorce case except actually ending the marriage. In a legal separation, court will enter orders dealing with the distribution of assets and debts as well as establishing child custody, parenting time or visitation, and child support.

George FernandezGeorge Fernandez
14:16 30 Apr 24
Excellent 10 out of 10, Helped resolve my case. Jeremy explained everything and made everything easy to understand.
21:33 24 Apr 24
If you are looking for a lawyer that listens, is aggressive where needed, and holds his word above all else, Todd is the best pick. I had hired multiple attorneys prior to hiring the Spodek Group for a white collar case. The first thing that stood out to me was the cost, as anyone going through the process and dealing with the system, money was tight at that time - especially after hiring and firing multiple lawyers. The cost was not as high as others which was definitely a plus. Todd's intake process was also unlike other attorneys. He took the time to actually listen. He cared. He was trying to put himself in my shoes while I was explaining the situation to him and he really took the time to understand the whole situation. Other lawyers will give you 15 mins and send you a retainer agreement. Not Todd, I think he spent almost two hours with me as I was explaining everything.Not only was he great during the onboarding process, he was supportive and very informative through the entire plea process and eventually sentencing. After hiring him, I asked if I should hire a prison consultant, he told me to save my money as he would do everything they would. He was right and held up to his word. Later on I would hear from others that went with the prison consultants that they were a waste of money - I am glad I listened to Todd!When it came time for sentencing, two days prior to sentencing, the prosecutor tried increasing my proposed prison time by almost double - apparently a normal move. Todd and his team worked with me non-stop through the weekend prior to sentencing to ensure that I was not given additional prison time. Again, he took the time to listen and came up with a strategy to explain the case with great detail.Unfortunately, I did plead guilty as that was my best option. Todd and his whole team wrote up nearly 300 pages of a summary of what happened and why I should not be given prison time. If I breakdown the amount I spent with Todd versus the amount of work that I saw being done, I am shocked I was not charged four times as much. The other benefit was, a lot of criminal defense lawyers were just a single attorney with a paralegal or two. Todd had a team of people that I dealt with (5-7 people that I interacted with), but he was ALWAYS accessible. It would never take him more than an hour to reply unless he was in court.I was sentenced to prison and I was emotionally distraught. Todd and his team did whatever they could even after sentencing to make sure I was alright. He personally stayed in touch with my family to ensure I was doing alright and offered support to them. Most lawyers would consider the job complete at sentencing, not Todd.After prison, Todd still spent time with me to make sure I was on the right track and avoiding any potential risks in the future. He has also been giving advice on how to navigate probation etc and has not been looking at the clock for billing.Although I wish I had never been arrested in the first place, I am glad I had Todd and his team in my corner. Without them I likely would have had to spend a lot more time in prison than I did.Thank you, Todd, and the entire Spodek Law team, for helping turn what was a nightmare into a manageable situation!
Yelva Saint-PreuxYelva Saint-Preux
19:26 19 Apr 24
I am immensely grateful to the entire team at Spodek Law Group for their unwavering dedication and exceptional expertise throughout my case. From our initial consultation to the final resolution, their professionalism and tireless advocacy made all the difference. Their strategic approach and attention to detail instilled confidence in me every step of the way.Thanks to their hard work and commitment, we achieved a truly favorable outcome that exceeded my expectations. Not only did they navigate the complexities of my case with precision, but they also provided invaluable support and guidance during what was undoubtedly a challenging time. I cannot recommend Spodek Law Group highly enough, especially attorneys Todd Spodek and Claire Banks; they are beacons of excellence in the legal profession.YSP.
Katherine SunKatherine Sun
18:08 18 Apr 24
my lawyer is Alex Zhik. Efficient, patient and professional
Nun yaNun ya
17:48 18 Apr 24
Todd, Ralph and Alex are amazing. Helped my husband get from a double digit number with multiple charges to a single digit, by the time I blink he will be out. They very professional and help with all your needs. They dealt with my anxiety and worry very well and they understand that your family member needs to get home as soon as possible.
Keisha ParrisKeisha Parris
20:45 15 Mar 24
Believe every single review here about Alex Z!! From our initial consultation, it was evident that Alex possessed a profound understanding of criminal law and a fierce dedication to his clients rights. Throughout the entirety of my case, Alex exhibited unparalleled professionalism and unwavering commitment. What sets Alex apart is not only his legal expertise but also his genuine compassion for his clients. He took the time to thoroughly explain my case, alleviating any concerns I had along the way. His exact words were “I’m not worried about it”. His unwavering support and guidance were invaluable throughout the entire process. I am immensely grateful for Alex's exceptional legal representation and wholeheartedly recommend his services to anyone in need of a skilled criminal defense attorney. Alex Z is not just a lawyer; he is a beacon of hope for those navigating the complexities of the legal system. If you find yourself in need of a dedicated and competent legal advocate, look no further than Alex Z.
Taïko BeautyTaïko Beauty
16:26 15 Mar 24
I don’t know where to start, I can write a novel about this firm, but one thing I will say is that having my best interest was their main priority since the beginning of my case which was back in Winter 2019. Miss Claire Banks, one of the best Attorneys in the firm represented me very well and was very professional, respectful, and truthful. Not once did she leave me in the dark, in fact she presented all options and routes that could possibly be considered for my case and she reinsured me that no matter what I decided to do, her and the team will have my back and that’s exactly what happened. Not only will I be liberated from this case, also, I will enjoy my freedom and continue to be a mother to my first born son and will have no restrictions with accomplishing my goals in life. Now that’s what I call victory!! I thank the Lord, My mother, Claire, and the Spodek team for standing by me and fighting with me. Words can’t describe how grateful I am to have the opportunity to work with this team. I’m very satisfied, very pleased with their performance, their hard work, and their diligence.Thank you team!
K MarK Mar
01:37 25 Jan 24
I recently had Spodek Law Group represent me for a legal matter in NYC and I am thoroughly impressed with their services.Alex Zhik secured the best possible outcome for my case.It was a seamless journey from the initial consultation to the resolution of my legal matter. From the moment I spoke to Todd about my case, his enthusiasm to help was evident, setting a positive tone for the entire experience. The efficiency and professionalism displayed by the team is commendable.A particularly noteworthy aspect of their service is their user-friendly portal to upload your documents/evidence. This not only simplified the process, but showcases their commitment to streamline the client experience.Lastly, in an industry where legal fees can often be a concern, I found their pricing to be very reasonable, making needing legal assistance feel accessible and stress-free.I am grateful for their support and wouldn't hesitate to turn to them again in the future.

There can be hearings before the court to address these issues if you and your spouse cannot reach agreements on these matters. You will have to prepare and file the same types of documents that are necessary for divorce cases.

When One Spouse Wants a Legal Separation and the Other Wants a Divorce

There are situations in which one spouse wants a legal separation and the other spouse desire to divorce. If a spouse files for divorce first, absent an agreement between the parties to convert the case to a legal separation proceeding, a court is highly unlike to entertain one spouse’s desire to proceed with a legal separation.

If a spouse files for legal separation initially, and the other party comes into court seeking a divorce, the court ultimately is likely to approve proceeding with a divorce. This is the case even in states in which irreconcilable differences are grounds for ending a marriage. If one party wants a legal separation because he or she feels a divorce is not inevitable, and the other party thinks divorce is the only alternative, a court is likely to conclude that the parties have irreconcilable differences even on the viability of the marriage itself.

Negotiate a Legal Settlement Agreement

The ideal situation in a legal separation case is when the spouses are able to negotiate a separation agreement between them. Ideally, the parties are able to reach decisions on everything from property and debt to resolving issues associated with the children.

If an agreement can be reached, the parties then present it to the court. Even in a legal separation case, a court must approve the final agreement reached by the parties. When the court approves a legal separation, the judge makes that agreement the order of the court in the case.

The only situations in which a court is unlikely to approve an agreed-to separation agreement is if its terms somehow violates the law or if one spouse coerced or exerted some other type of overreach in getting the other spouse to agree to that agreement.

Hire an Attorney

Legal separation is a complicated legal matter. In the scheme of things, it really is as complicated as a divorce case. The only step that doesn’t occur in a legal separation case is the formal, legal termination of the marriage itself.

A family law attorney will explain your legal options, including the availability of legal separation. Legal counsel will also answer any questions that you may have. As a general rule, a family law attorney will not charge a fee for an initial consultation.

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