ARIZONA LEGAL SEPARATION ATTORNEY

With My AZ Lawyers

Our Arizona Legal Separation Attorneys often discuss the difference between a Divorce and a Legal Separation.  Often they are wanting to discuss which option is best for their particular situation.  Generally speaking, both a divorce and a legal separation are similar; however, they do have some distinct and unique differences that should be understood.
A frequent point of conversation that we have is with people who really don’t want to get divorced because it seems like failure and finality.  It is their belief that Legal Separation will suffice as a pseudo replacement for divorce.  Plus, they feel it leaves the door open for the future and possible reconciliation.  Some even want to use Legal Separation as a scare tactic to make their spouse know that they are serious with the hopes of changed behavior.  Often, Legal Separation is not taken with the gravity it should.
Please know that Legal Separation is a major step.  In a Legal Separation and in divorce, assets will be divided, child support orders will be entered, custody orders will be entered.  Also, there may be an award of spousal maintenance (Alimony) when appropriate.

Legal Separation FAQs

ANSWER: 

There is no residency requirement to file a legal separation in Arizona, while you must have been an Arizona resident for at least 90 days to file a divorce here. You can’t remarry after a separation, but you can remarry after a divorce. You are still legally married after a legal separation.

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ANSWER: 

Anyone in Arizona that is married can file for a legal separation, even if it is their first day living in the state.

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ANSWER: 

The first step is to complete and file a petition for legal separation. Then, the other party must be served with the petition. You can hire a process server or have law enforcement serve the paperwork for you, or your spouse can sign an affidavit of what they received along with a waiver of service. How the separation will proceed depends on how your spouse responds to the petition.

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480-833-8000

ANSWER: 

Because Arizona is a no-fault divorce state, it is a no-fault separation state as well. When a state allows for no-fault divorce, it isn’t required for a spouse to prove things like infidelity or abuse to be granted a divorce. The spouse can simply list “irreconcilable differences” on their divorce petition.

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ANSWER: 

In Arizona, there is no time limit on how long a legal separation can last.

Chapter 13 bankruptcy attorney in ArizonaCONTACT AN EXPERIENCED ARIZONA FAMILY LAW ATTORNEY

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ANSWER: 

The main reason couples opt for legal separation as opposed to divorce is financial issues. A spouse can maintain insurance coverage during a legal separation, but not a divorce. The couple will also still be entitled to tax benefits and social security benefits.

The majority of couples who file for legal separation eventually get divorced. However, approximately 15% of couples end up staying together in the long run. These couples can simply end the separation instead of dealing with the often-length process of divorce and remarriage.

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ANSWER: 

Depending on the state, one partner may be held liable for debts incurred by the other spouse during a legal separation. If you end up getting a raise or significant increase in income during a separation, you will have to pay more child support or alimony if the separation ends in divorce.

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ANSWER: 

Custody will be handled the same way in a separation as it is in a divorce- all decisions will be made in the best interests of the child.

Chapter 13 bankruptcy attorney in ArizonaCONTACT AN EXPERIENCED ARIZONA FAMILY LAW ATTORNEY

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ANSWER: 

Because you are still technically married, you can file your taxes as either “married filing jointly” or “married filing separately.” You should consult a tax professional when deciding between the two.

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ANSWER: 

Health insurance benefits will continue during and after a separation, unless the separation ends in divorce. A couple could remain legally separated for the rest of their lives and remain on each other’s insurance policies.

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ANSWER: 

A Trial Separation is a more informal version of a legal separation in Arizona. It involves a couple deciding to live separately, usually by living apart, without court intervention. The couple may want to agree to a timeframe before beginning a trial separation. The couple will then either reunite or go to the court for a divorce at the end of the trial separation period.

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ANSWER: 

Because custody proceedings and a division of assets and debts will occur in a legal separation, it is always best to be represented by an attorney. This is especially true if your spouse is represented by an attorney, because you will be already be at a disadvantage if you proceed self-represented.

Chapter 13 bankruptcy attorney in ArizonaCONTACT AN EXPERIENCED ARIZONA FAMILY LAW ATTORNEY

480-833-8000

ANSWER: 

You can draft a separation agreement yourself, but a judge will still need to sign off on it for it to be legally binding. The agreement will cover issues like child custody, visitation,  and division of assets and debts.

Chapter 13 bankruptcy attorney in ArizonaCONTACT AN EXPERIENCED ARIZONA FAMILY LAW ATTORNEY

480-833-8000

ANSWER: 

Arizona is a no-fault divorce state, meaning you won’t be penalized in a divorce for cheating on your spouse. Arguably, it is implied that you will be dating other people during a separation. Just remember that if you do find someone you want to get serious with, you will need to divorce the spouse you are separated from before you can get married.

Chapter 13 bankruptcy attorney in ArizonaCONTACT AN EXPERIENCED ARIZONA FAMILY LAW ATTORNEY

480-833-8000

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