In Alabama, a couple who wishes to separate but not immediately end their marriage can file for a legal separation. A couple may choose this option for a number of reasons, including religion, insurance or property division complications, to expedite future divorce proceedings, or if they are unsure if they want to split permanently.
In many ways, a legal separation is very similar to a divorce. The spouses will come to an agreement about child custody, child support, spousal support, property division, debt allocation, and any other pertinent considerations. The spouses can then live separately, acquire separate property, and make other financial decisions independently.
Unlike a divorce, a separation does not end a marriage. This means that it is impossible to get remarried until you file for divorce. However, it also means that your terms are far more flexible. The couple can modify the terms of their separation, transition the separation into a divorce, or cancel the separation and reunite at any time, as long as both parties are in agreement.
Legal separations are less common than divorces and require more specialized work, which means they tend to be more expensive than a divorce in Alabama. Furthermore, many couples who get a legal separation tend to file for divorce later, meaning they’re paying twice.
However, choosing to live separately from your spouse without obtaining a separation or a divorce can be financially risky. Without an agreement regarding debt, assets, joint credit cards, child care, and more, you could find yourself liable for financial decisions your spouse makes without you.
If you’re not ready for a divorce, obtaining a legal separation may be the best way to ensure your finances are protected.
To file for a legal separation in Alabama, you must be able to demonstrate that your marriage has broken down to the point where it is not possible to cohabit or that your personalities are too incompatible to live together.
Separation is easier and cheaper to obtain if the spouses are equally interested in a separation and do not dispute each other’s claims, but this is often not the case. If one spouse opposes the motion or disagrees about terms of the claim, complicated legal procedures, including evidentiary and court hearings, may follow.
Often, the best choice you can make when considering a legal separation is to hire an experienced separation lawyer. At New Beginnings Family Law, we can help you draft an acceptable agreement, prepare you for court if you should have to attend, and generally make sure your legal separation goes as smoothly as possible.
We recognize that this is a hard time in your life, and we want to be there for you. To schedule a consultation, call us or contact us online today.
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