Understanding the Legal Separation Process: An Attorney’s Perspective

  •   |   Meghan Freed

Legal separation attorney experienced perspective on the background of an attorney typing.Are you considering a legal separation but feeling unsure of where to begin? Look no further! Today, we take you through the intricacies of the legal separation process from an experienced legal separation attorney’s perspective, providing valuable insights and guidance. Whether you want to understand how assets are divided, establish child custody arrangements, or navigate the complexities of alimony, our legal separation attorneys want you to make informed decisions. With our years of experience in family law, our lawyers are committed to simplifying the process and ensuring you have the knowledge and support you need to make the right choices for you and your family. Don’t let confusion keep you stuck — read on to take the first step in paving the way to a smooth legal separation.

Differences Between Legal Separation and Divorce in Connecticut

Legal separation and divorce are two distinct legal processes people may pursue when their marriage is no longer sustainable. For example, while divorce leads to the dissolution of a marriage, legal separation allows couples to separate parts of their lives while remaining legally married. Understanding the differences between these two options is crucial in making an informed decision.

In Connecticut, legal separation provides couples with an alternative to divorce. It allows them to separate their lives and assets without ending their marriage. This option can particularly appeal to individuals with religious or personal beliefs that discourage divorce. Legal separation allows couples to address child custody, property division, and financial support without permanently severing their legal ties.

Read: Connecticut Divorce vs. Separation

Reasons for Choosing Legal Separation

There are various reasons why people choose legal separation over divorce. One common reason is the desire to maintain certain benefits associated with marriage, such as health insurance coverage or social security benefits. Legal separation also provides an opportunity for couples to take a temporary break and evaluate the future of their relationship before making the final decision to divorce. Additionally, legal separation can be a favorable option for couples who have not yet met the residency requirements for divorce in their state.

Read: What Is a Trial Separation: Everything You Need to Know

Legal Requirements

Before embarking on the legal separation process, it is essential to understand the requirements set forth by the state of Connecticut. To obtain a legal separation, at least one spouse must have been a resident of Connecticut for a minimum of twelve months before filing. Additionally, the couple must demonstrate that their marriage has broken down irretrievably or that they have been living apart for at least eighteen consecutive months.

Read: 5 Parenting Tips for Back to School After Separation or Divorce

The Role of an Attorney in the Connecticut Legal Separation Process

Navigating the legal separation process can be challenging, so having an experienced attorney by your side is important. A legal separation attorney serves as your guide, steering you through the complexities of the process, and advocating and negotiating on your behalf. They will assist you in gathering the necessary documentation, preparing legal agreements, and negotiating with your spouse’s attorney. Their expertise will help you achieve a fair and equitable outcome.

Read: Key Differences Between Connecticut Legal Separation and Divorce

CT Legal Separation Process – Step By Step

Our experienced legal separation attorneys have broken down the process into several key steps. Understanding these steps will help you navigate the process with confidence and clarity.

  • Choose an Attorney: Select a legal separation attorney. Make sure to discuss your goals in addition to the specific details of your situation. Your attorney should be candid and guide you on the best course of action.
  • Filing the Petition: Once you have decided to proceed with a legal separation, your attorney prepare and file the with the court.
  • Serving the Petition: After the petition is filed, your attorney will arrange to properly serve your spouse. Depending on the situation, this may be via a judicial marshal or your spouse’s attorneys can be done through a process server or by certified mail. Your attorney will ensure that the petition is served correctly and that proof of service is obtained.
  • Negotiation and Mediation: Legal separation often involves negotiation and mediation to reach agreements on important issues. This can include child custody arrangements, division of assets, and financial support. Your attorney will represent your interests during these negotiations and help you achieve favorable outcomes.
  • Finalizing the Agreement: Once all issues have been resolved, your legal separation attorney will draft a legal separation agreement. This agreement outlines the terms and conditions of the separation, including child custody, visitation schedules, property division, and financial support. Your attorney will review the agreement to ensure all aspects are fair and in your best interest.
  • Court Approval: The final step in the legal separation process is obtaining court approval for the agreement. Your attorney will present the agreement to the court, and if everything is in order, the court will issue a judgment of legal separation.

Read: Legal Separation vs. Divorce

Common Issues Addressed in Legal Separation Agreements from an Experienced CT Separation Attorney

When going through a legal separation, it is crucial to address various issues to ensure a smooth transition for both parties involved. An experienced legal separation attorney can help you navigate these issues and create a comprehensive agreement that covers all necessary aspects. Some common issues addressed in legal separation agreements include child custody and visitation, child support, spousal support (alimony), property division, and healthcare coverage.

Tips for Finding the Right Attorney for Your Legal Separation

Finding the right attorney for your legal separation is vital to ensure a successful outcome. Here are some tips to help you find the best attorney for your specific needs:

  1. Experience: Look for an attorney who dedicates their practice to family law and has significant experience handling legal separation cases. A knowledgeable lawyer will be familiar with the intricacies of the process and will be able to provide valuable guidance.
  2. Deep Bench: Make sure your lawyer works with a paralegal who can assist you when your attorney is in court with other clients.  Verify that your attorney works at a firm with a “brain trust” of other lawyers they can bounce ideas off.
  3. Compatibility: Make sure the law firm you work with spends time understanding your goals for your life.  Everyone going through a legal separation has different circumstances and priorities, and you want a legal team who tailors your divorce specifically to you. needs and goals.
  4. Communication: Select an attorney who prioritizes it telling it like it is even when it’s not what you want to hear.  That’s the only way you’ll be able to make real decisions rooted in reality.  You also want to work with a law firm that commits to updating you frequently.  You also want an attorney organized enough to provide frequent invoices (at least once a month).  Transparency regarding costs will help you avoid any financial surprises along the way.

Read: Should I Work on My Marriage?

An Attorney’s Answers to Frequently Asked Questions about CT Legal Separation

1. Is legal separation the same as divorce?

No, legal separation allows couples to separate their financial lives and establish a parenting plan while remaining legally married, whereas divorce dissolves the marriage.  (This is why divorce is also called “dissolution of marriage.”)

2. Can I remarry after a legal separation?

No, legal separation does not terminate the marriage.  To remarry,  you need to obtain a divorce.

3. Can we change the legal separation agreement in the future?

In certain circumstances, you can modify the agreement in the future.  Talk to your legal separation attorney to get specific advice based on the court order in your case.

4. Can I still receive health insurance benefits after a legal separation?

The answer to this depends on your specific policy and the terms of your legal separation agreement. Consult with your lawyer and employer to understand the impact on your health insurance coverage.

5. How long does the legal separation process generally take?

The length of the process depends on various factors, including the complexity of the issues involved and the level of cooperation between the parties. It typically ranges from 6 months to over a year.

Read: Your Options When You’re Unhappy in Your Marriage

Post-Separation Obligations and Responsibilities

Once the court finalizes the legal separation, both parties have certain obligations and responsibilities. These can include adhering to the terms of the legal separation agreement, making child support or alimony payments, and maintaining open lines of communication regarding matters concerning the children. It is essential to fulfill these obligations to ensure a smooth transition and minimize conflicts.

Read: Mediation vs. Arbitration in Divorce

Next Steps

Legal separation can be a viable option for couples considering parting ways but not ready for divorce. Understanding Connecticut’s legal separation process is crucial to making informed decisions and protecting your rights. Remember, legal separation is not a one-size-fits-all solution.  Please reach out if you’d like to speak with Freed Marcroft about the best course of action for you.

Freed Marcroft LLC

Freed Marcroft LLC