Many times people state that they want a legal separation because it is believed to be quicker and cheaper than a divorce. Usually, once we’ve explained how the legal separation is obtained, people realize that they don’t, in fact, want a legal separation.
In some cases, people follow through with the legal separation process for religious or health insurance reasons.
A legal separation is obtained in the same fashion as a divorce. You have to file for legal separation, and the process includes:
- Written and oral discovery
- Pretrials and hearings
- Temporary orders
- In most cases, there will be a full trial to make a determination of separation of assets and liabilities, and a determination of support.
One important difference between a legal separation and a divorce is that if, at some point in the future, someone who is legally separated wants to marry someone else, they can’t. They’re still married, so now they have to go to court and file for divorce and then the legal separation document is typically reviewed by the court and often used to make it a divorce instead. There is a separate process then to convert this over to a divorce.
In the end, the legal fees associated with a legal separation and divorce would likely be the same because it’s the exact same procedure.