Legal Separation

A legal separation is similar to a divorce proceeding from a procedural standpoint.  It is commenced by filing a Complaint for Legal Separation.  It is not necessary to allege that the marriage is “irretrievably broken”.  Once filed, a court in a legal separation proceeding can enter the same kind of orders a court would in a divorce case concerning custody and visitation, child and spousal support and orders pertaining to property and debts.  Although a legal separation can be finalized by entry of a Decree of Legal Separation, this usually occurs when the parties actually want a divorce but have not met the residency requirements.  A Decree of Legal Separation can be modified into a Decree of Dissolution of Marriage upon the filing of the necessary and appropriate documents.

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