MESA LEGAL SEPARATION LAWYERS
In Mesa, legal separation is a process that allows a married couple to live apart and divide their finances while remaining married, as opposed to divorce, which is the legal process of ending a marriage. Neither may feel like a great option. Still, understanding what each means can help. Your unique situation drives whether you should choose legal separation or divorce. Learn more about the similarities and differences below.
Legal Separation vs Divorce in Mesa, AZ?
Reasons to get a legal separation in Mesa, Arizona instead of a divorce include:
- Some couples choose legal separation instead of divorce based on religious or moral objections to divorce.
- Other couples might choose to legally separate when they are not 100% sure that they want to stay married but still want financial protection or to receive benefits such as health insurance coverage (which may still be available from some employers).
- Legal separation may also allow you to continue filing joint tax returns.
- Legal separation can serve as a “trial period” in case reconciling the marriage is possible. You don’t need to marry your spouse again if you choose to get back together.
- Legal separation can also be used to divide debts and assets and keep future finances and income separate just like in a divorce. This will help protect you both from the other spouse’s liability of future personal or business debts.
How Long Can You Be Legally Separated in Mesa?
Arizona law allows you to be legally separated indefinitely. Legal separation is not a “step” on the way to divorce; it is a completely different legal status. If the reasons for choosing that status remain in effect, the legal separation can remain in effect as well. If spouses elect to reconcile, the status of legal separation can be set aside. If one or both spouses decide to divorce after they are already legally separated, they can do this as well.
Similarities Between Legal Separation and Divorce in Mesa
- Must make agreements on legal decision making and parenting time, as well as community property division (otherwise a judge will make decisions for you)
- Live separately
- Both processes take about the same amount of time to complete and cost about the same
- Community property relationship is terminated
Differences Between Legal Separation and Divorce in Mesa
- With a divorce, the marriage is legally terminated, compared to a legal separation, where the parties are still married.
- With a divorce, you are free to remarry, but if you are legally separated, you cannot remarry.
- Divorce is a permanent change in your legal status, whereas legal separation can be temporary.
What is a Legal Separation Agreement?
According to Forbes.com, a legal separation agreement is: “a legally binding agreement between [spouses] to resolve issues such as the division of assets and debt, alimony/spousal support, child support, and visitation.” This can also be called a Marital Settlement Agreement, a Marital Separation Agreement or a Property Settlement Agreement. These documents are commonly used in both legal separation and divorce matters.
How Much Does Legal Separation Cost in Mesa, AZ?
The current filing cost for a petition for legal separation is $349 according to Arizona Judicial Branch under Supreme Court Filing Fees. Response to petition or initial appearance in legal separation costs $279. According to Canterbury Law Group, “The complete cost of legal separation can vary enormously, from as little as $1,000 to in excess of $100,000 when matters such as alimony, child custody and having to work through the disposition of a very complex marital estate are to be decided. So, you can imagine, there are many factors coming into play to determine the total legal separation costs.“
*Disclaimer – These fees are always changing, and this is not an actual quote. If you need an experienced legal separation lawyer, contact one of the independent professionals at Best Legal Choices today.
Do I Need a Legal Separation Lawyer in Mesa?
Not every situation is the same. It is important that you consult with a family law attorney who will help you understand what the legal separation process requires. The professionals at Best Legal Choices can advise and assist with disclosure of assets and debts, allocation of assets and debts, and options for child custody, child support, spousal maintenance, and more.
Choosing between legal separation and divorce can be painful and difficult. Doing it all yourself, though, makes it even harder. If you want to remain on good terms with your spouse and you want to enter this process in a way that prioritizes your family’s needs during the process and after, consider the collaborative process for legal separation or divorce.
Seek the advice of experienced counsel to walk you through your divorce options in Mesa and help you make the best decision for you.
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