How Long Does It Take To Get a Legal Separation?
How long does it take to get a legal separation?
While spouses are not required to gain court approval for a legal separation, a marriage can only be dissolved through divorce. However, the date of your separation will impact marital property, assets, and debts. The date of separation also affects the timing of when a divorce can be finalized without a spouse’s consent.
How long does legal separation take?
Under state law, a legal separation cannot be finalized until 60 days after the Petitioner serves the Respondent. In mediation, the entire process may take 2 to 4 months, and in litigation, the process may take up to one year or longer. The court will not consider any submission of a motion supported by an affidavit, nor will it hold a trial or hearing on an application for a decree of legal separation until 60 days after the date of service or acceptance of the process. Filing a petition for legal separation is the first step in the process. Upon filing a petition for legal separation, you must wait up to 30 days for your spouse to respond. It takes about two months after they respond to get a divorce decree. The average time it takes to finalize a legal separation from start to finish is 90 to 120 days. However, the legal separation process may take even longer, up to six months, if your separation involves children.
How long can you be legally separated?
Separation is an alternative to divorce for many couples, but it can also be a step towards it. Some states have mandatory separation periods, which is the duration of time spouses must remain separated before pursuing a divorce. The waiting period can be anywhere from one month to two years, depending on the state. A couple can stay legally separated for as long as they desire. Getting a divorce is only necessary if spouses wish to remarry. Spouses can be separated but remain married indefinitely. How long you are legally separated is your own judgment call. A legal separation is also reversible but can also be terminated if either party files a divorce petition and obtains a divorce decree from a court.
Do I need a legal separation lawyer?
The law does not require a person to have a lawyer to create a separation agreement. Some spouses, citing expenses, consider making their own separation agreement without a lawyer. However, separation agreements can be long and complex, especially if you and your partner have been together for many years and have extensive marital property or children. While you can draft a separation agreement yourself, it is best to have an attorney do it for you. Hiring a legal separation lawyer is recommended if you are unsure how the legal separation process works, not sure how to create a separation agreement yourself, or worried about navigating the legal system without advice. Since laws vary from state to state, be sure to consult with an attorney to ensure that you are taking the correct steps to protect yourself legally.
If you and your spouse cannot agree on the terms of the agreement, an experienced attorney can help you reach a resolution without having to litigate your legal separation in a lengthy court battle.