A legal separation decides all issues of alimony, child support, child custody and property division, just as a divorce does, but the only difference is you remain legally married to each other. You live separate and apart and have your own lives. Our firm guides you through the process to a legal separation that encapsulates all of agreements and arrangements necessary for you and your spouse to live separately.
The grounds for separation are exactly the same as those for divorce:
- Irretrievable breakdown of the marriage
- Living apart for 18 months
- Abandonment for seven years
- Willful desertion for one year
- Intolerable cruelty
- Confinement for mental illness
A legal separation is obtained through the same court procedure as a divorce. However, in practice, most legal separations are created through a separation agreement, which is then approved by the court.
A legal separation offers you more tax filing options. You can file as:
- Married, filing jointly
- Married, filing separately
- Head of household
The last option gives you a higher standard deduction and there may be different benefits to each status. Our attorneys help you evaluate your tax status as you make decisions about legal separation.
You can reconcile any time you want, without legal intervention. If you want to officially undo your legal separation, simply file a declaration of resumption of marriage with the court. Siegel, Colin & Kaufman has helped many couples separate and reunite, and our attorneys understand that sometimes you need to make changes in your legal status.
The impact of a legal separation on your health insurance depends on your policy. Some plans allow the non-employee spouse to continue to be covered, others don't. If coverage is discontinued, it can be continued under COBRA, a federal law that allows the non-employee spouse to buy insurance under the plan for 36 months after the separation. Our lawyers know the ins and outs of health insurance law and can help you make the best decisions for your family.
When you are separated, you are still legally married. It is a personal choice whether to date or not. It is possible that dating could provide grounds for your spouse to seek a divorce based on adultery, but this is very rare. Our highly respected attorneys have handled hundreds of separations and can provide targeted advice as you consider separation.
Make an appointment with Siegel, Colin & Kaufman by calling our office at 203-326-5145 or using our online contact form. Our office is located in Soundview Plaza with plenty of free parking. When you have questions about legal separation, our seasoned attorneys have answers.