What is a legal separation in divorce?
When a couple gets a legal separation, it is very similar to divorce. It will have the same process of filing papers with the court to begin a legal process. The court next makes the decisions on where the children will live, debts, and assets in the event of a divorce. In the end, the parties are legally separated rather than being actually divorced. So in essence, this means that they are still married but not responsible for each other and what the other party does.
Generally a legal separation comes about in the final stages of a couple's arguments or issues in getting along. It can be a way of taking a breather and finding out what each party wants our of the relationship. For some people, there is no reason to rush into getting divorce because it is a decision that has to be well thought out just as the marriage should have been.
Sometimes when people are on a legal separation, they will try and work things out. Consequently, there are some cases, where it will not work and in the end, the parties' involved want to get a divorce. One year after the legal separation is granted, one of the parties can petition to change the separation to a legal divorce. They can do this without any further hearings and the other party is not legally able to prevent it from happening. As you can see, many people sometimes prefer the separation instead of a divorce because of their religious beliefs or for insurance reasons.
If the party wishes to terminate their marriage, they can then get a divorce. In order to do that, parties involved go to court and decide how to handle any problems with the children and how to divide their marital property. Each party is going to be responsible for one half of all marital debts.
Anything and everything that the couple bought while they were married is considered marital property. It does not matter whose name the object at hand is in or who actually bought or received it. Bank accounts, pensions, and stocks are marital property even if they are held in one name only. Depending on the length of the marriage and what type of property it is, property brought into the marriage is still marital. The court will be as fair as possible and sometimes the parties involved will make their own right choices about how to be fair in the divorce.
It is always a good thing when a couple can make their own best decisions about how things should be split up before they actually go to court. Both parties should have attorneys regardless of previous agreements between the couple. This will help things progress along without having to worry about any legalities. This is the best way to protect each party's assets and to make sure that the proceedings are fair.