Seattle Legal Separation Attorneys

What Is the Difference Between Legal Separation and Divorce?

A legal separation is not the same as a divorce. Many people are confused about whether it is necessary to get a legal separation before they get divorced. While legal separations are useful under certain circumstances, they are not a divorce prerequisite.

If you think a legal separation may be beneficial to you, speak with an attorney before taking any action. The lawyers at Anderson, Fields, Dermody & McIlwain, Inc., P.S., have extensive experience with all areas of divorce and family law, including legal separation. We can advise you on whether it may be right for you. Please call our office at 206-905-4290 or toll-free 866-970-4558 for an appointment with our Seattle legal separation lawyers today.

Legal Separation May Benefit You

A legal separation does not end a marriage. It is a final order that provides a time period of at least six months before the marriage can be dissolved via divorce by either spouse. A legal separation can also specify the terms of temporary spousal maintenance (alimony), child custody and child support. In addition, a legal separation may address property rights and specify which spouse will retain use of the marital home during the separation.

A more thorough dissertation is found in our book, Divorce in Washington Made Simple, which can only be purchased through our office.

To prevent one party from depleting bank accounts, using joint credit cards or taking certain actions with the children, the other spouse may need to file a restraining order. We can assist you with this process.

Additionally, we can help you determine whether a legal separation will provide enough time to reach the 10-year marriage requirement for one spouse to be entitled to one-half of the other spouse's Social Security benefits or military pension, or to the continuation of medical benefits.

While there may be benefits to a legal separation, it will not provide protection from a spouse's debts. Some couples use separations for tax purposes; however, this requires assistance from an accountant.

To schedule an appointment with a Washington separation agreement lawyer, please call us at 206-905-4290 or toll-free 866-970-4558 or contact us online.