Legal Separation Lawyers in Alabama

In Alabama, a couple may choose to legally separate instead of divorce for reasons such as religion, medical insurance or the complications associated with asset and property division. Others may need some space from a relationship after turmoil in the marriage. A legal separation is a court order that sets out the rights and responsibilities of married spouses when they wish to lead separate lives. Legal separations achieve much of the same objectives as a divorce without the permanency of dissolving the marriage.

Spouses must follow certain steps to file for legal separation. Before or during the period of separation, issues between the spouses can be resolved using a legal marriage separation agreement. During your confidential legal consultation, Dothan Law Group will thoroughly explain the difference between divorce and legal separation, discuss the requirements for a legal separation, and provide you with the necessary facts to make an educated decision regarding how you wish to proceed.

Reasons for Legal Separation

A legal separation continues your relationship at least to some extent, so you remain connected to each other. Couples may wish to file for a legal separation for a variety of reasons, for example:

  • They want to wait on divorce because there is a chance they will get back together.
  • They do not want to get divorced for religious, social, or other personal reasons.
  • They want to have child support “in writing.”
  • They want to have child support payments taken directly out of someone’s paycheck.
  • They want to have in writing that someone will continue to pay marital bills, including mortgage notes.

While legally separated, both spouses are free to live apart, spend their funds, and even begin new relationships. If either spouse earns money or obtains property after the legal separation, the court will consider this to be separate property in any future divorce proceedings. A legal separation can later be converted into a Final Decree of Divorce or it can be terminated.

Advantages of Legal Separation

For those couples who believe a legal separation is the next best step in their marriage, a family law attorney at Dothan Law Group can help make the process and transition as smooth as possible. Legal separation provides a number of advantages to spouses, including the following:

  • Cost—The cost to negotiate and draft a separation agreement is much less expensive than litigation.
  • Flexibility—Spouses have the freedom to negotiate each issue and find creative solutions. The spouses negotiating a separation agreement can specify conditions that a judge cannot.
  • Privacy—Unlike court documents, a separation agreement is not a public record and the general public does not have access to the terms of your agreement without your consent.
  • Time—A court trial can be a long, involved and time-consuming process.

Additionally, if the couple does decide to file for divorce, the same separation agreement may be transformed into their divorce agreement.

Decree of Legal Separation

The Alabama Code Section 30-2-40 uses the following definition: “A legal separation is a court determination of the rights and responsibilities of a husband and wife arising out of the marital relationship. A decree of legal separation does not terminate the marital status of the parties.”

Experienced Legal Separation Lawyer

Even if you and your spouse agree on the terms of your separation, it would be beneficial to ask an experienced attorney at Dothan Law Group to draft the actual separation agreement for you. Our experienced legal team can explain the advantages and disadvantages of legal separation and advise you on the best course of action given your individual circumstances. At Dothan Law Group, we can help you draft an acceptable agreement, prepare you for court if you should have to attend, and make sure your legal separation goes as smoothly as possible.