Legal Separation: Say, What?

First of all, what exactly is it to be “ legally separated? ” I’ll tell you what it’s not. It ’s not divorced. What you are, is bound by a Court decree that spells out the ground rules between you and your spouse during the period of your legal separation. The rules address many of the subjects contained in a typical divorce decree, such as the house, the kids, the property and the bills. We admittedly don’t often advise legal separation, the reason being that the vast majority of legal separation cases we see ultimately end up in divorce. There’s just not much opportunity to mend fences with a Court decree out there dubbing you legally and officially separated, often establishing separate residences, with separate times with the children and separate financial responsibilities for the now-fragmented household. To the extent legal separation culminates in divorce, you’re simply paying the lawyer twice to do the same job. Yet again there are people who are earnestly torn between the inability to make that final dissolution decisions and the realization that they can’t spend another day under the same roof with their spouse. It does happen, and that’s why legal separations happen as well. I always defer to the client as I must, but I’ve had some very, very long discussions with people before going this route and that's how it should be.