Question #3: Please describe a “legal separation” and what implications are involved. How does it work, what does it do and how would a person get one?

A Legal Separation entails the parties entering into a Separation Agreement in which they spell out all of the various decisions they have agreed upon with regard to such matters as child custody, child support, spousal maintenance, spousal support, and the division of marital assets. In order for it to be legal, it must be reviewed and approved by the court which reviews the Agreement to see that it meets all of the State statutory requirements and is fair to all parties.

It is the first step in the process of divorce, but although the parties after a legal separation are permitted to live separate and apart and their incomes are maintained as separate property, they still remain married and may not remarry until a divorce is filed and an order of divorce is issued by the court having jurisdiction over their divorce.

A lawyer with experience in these matters is necessary to ensure that all of the statutory requirements and other legal considerations have been taken and that the document will satisfy the court and serve as the Separation Agreement upon which the divorce is ultimately based.

I strongly recommend that you consider divorce mediation with an attorney experienced in this area who can assist you in preparing this document.

Leonard M. Weiner, Esq./Divorce Solutions