When to Consider a Legal Separation in Minnesota
In Minnesota, obtaining a legal separation is a way to decide many of the issues involved in a divorce without completely ending the marriage. The process is somewhat similar to divorce in that it requires filing a petition in Family Court and serving the other spouse. At the conclusion, the Court will issue orders with regard to property division, alimony, child support, and child custody and visitation.
The key difference between legal separation and divorce is that legal separation does not result in a dissolution of the marriage. Therefore, parties who are legally separated maintain their married status and cannot remarry.
Legal Separation as an Alternative to Divorce
In the past, legal separation has been seen as an “easier” alternative to divorce. However, in recent years, divorce has become more accessible due to the introduction of “no-fault” divorce laws. A legal separation, therefore, does not offer much of an advantage with regard to ease or efficiency. Spouses wishing to finalize the end of their relationship must return to court to obtain a divorce, even if they were already legally separated. So, for those who want a final dissolution of their marriage, divorce is usually preferable in the first instance.
Advantages of Legal Separation
There are certain situations in which legal separation may be preferred over divorce. For example, some couples wish to legally separate but they remain hopeful that they will reconcile in the near future. Legal separation allows these spouses to officially determine their rights with regard to property division, spousal support, and the children of the marriage without getting a final divorce decree.
A spouse with hopes of reconciliation may also find legal separation advantageous for preserving certain rights in the event they do end up in divorce. Ironing out the couple’s issues beforehand in a legal separation, however, can avoid this problem.
Additionally, some couples opt for legal separation to avoid the financial or insurance ramifications of divorce. In such a case, the couple may remain married to maintain spousal employee health benefits or to continue receiving favorable tax treatment as a married couple. There are also those who simply wish to avoid divorce either for religious or other personal reasons.
Minnesota Legal Separation and Divorce Lawyers
The family law attorneys at Collins, Buckley, Sauntry, & Haugh, PLLP, routinely represent spouses in legal separation, divorce, and other domestic relations matters. We are sensitive to the unique needs of each client and handle each case with tact and compassion.
For a confidential consultation, please call 651-227-0611 or contact us online.