Well, yes and no. There is a provision for a legal separation. Basically you have to go through the same steps as you do if you’re getting a divorce. You have to fill out the sworn financial statement. You have to try to arrive at a financial settlement and child support and maintenance if that applies. So that is an option. The issue with a legal separation is that either party can convert that to a decree of dissolution of marriage six months after the decree has been entered by the court.
Why would somebody want to do a legal separation? The biggest reason in the past was because of health insurance. When you become divorced you’re no longer eligible to remain on the other party’s health insurance plan so that was a huge factor. Another reason might be religious reasons. Perhaps the religion that you practice does not approve of divorces and you don’t want to be in violation of your religious beliefs.
So those are really the two reasons why I see people do a legal separation as opposed to a divorce but do keep in mind that that decree of legal separation can be converted by the other party to a divorce six months after it’s entered. Again, we don’t do many legal separations anymore but if you were concerned about your situation, concerned about your health insurance coverage or have other issues give me a call, come in, and we can talk about it and decide what is the best way for you to proceed.