Why Legal Separation?
Legal separations are mutually agreed upon by the parties. One reason parties seek a legal separation, rather than a divorce or dissolution, can be to ensure both parties receive continued health insurance coverage that would otherwise be lost to a party in either a divorce or dissolution.
The process for a Complaint for Legal Separation is the same as the Complaint for Divorce. The process for Petition for Dissolution presumes the parties are in agreement, just as with legal separation. The outcome with dissolution involves both separation of property and support issues, with the marriage ending. A legal separation also involves separation of property and support issues, but the marriage legally continues. An attorney can help you choose whether legal separation, dissolution or divorce will be your most appropriate option.
Legal separations dispose of property division and support issues, but leave the door open for either the husband or wife to later file a Complaint for Divorce. As long as the court granting the divorce does not disturb the previous legal separation orders regarding marital property division, spousal support and so on, the granting of the divorce will not trigger equitability issues. You cannot force a spouse to remain married.
Impact on Child Support
In a legal separation, determination of a child support order will take into account the incomes of both parents. The choice of pursuing a legal separation will not change the criteria applied in the determination of the support for children.
Consult With an Attorney
Ending a marriage can be a complicated undertaking and having the assistance of an attorney is advisable. This information is offered for informational purposes only. It is not offered as, and does not constitute, legal advice.
Reprinted by author from: http://www.avvo.com/legal-guides/ugc/legal-separation-or-divorce-1