Connecticut Legal Separation Attorneys
Marriage is a trying endeavor, and few married couples would claim that their marriage is without conflict, however minor or significant. For some couples, however, there may come a point where living together as a married couple no longer makes sense or is enjoyable, but the idea of getting divorced and permanently parting ways seems premature. For couples who fall into this category, legal separation may be a viable option.
At The Upton law Firm, our experienced attorneys can help you to understand the differences between legal separation and divorce, determine which scenario is best for you, and then help you to pursue your chosen path. If you know that something in your marriage needs to change and you are ready to take action, our family law attorneys are ready to schedule your initial consultation.
What Is Legal Separation?
Connecticut General Statute Section 46b-67(b) defines a legal separation as having the “effect of a decree dissolving marriage except that neither party shall be free to marry.” In other words, this means that when you and your spouse are legally separated, you will live separate and may have a number of court orders in place that are typically associated with a divorce, such as a spousal maintenance, child custody, or child support order. However, you are still legally married to one another, can resume your marriage at any point (by filing a declaration of resumption), and are not allowed to marry another person without seeking a full dissolution of marriage.
What Issues Must Couples Deal With in a Legal Separation?
The issues that a couple must deal with, and the grounds and process for filing for a legal separation, are identical to those in a divorce. This means that couples who would like to seek legal separation from their spouse must confront issues such as:
- Property division. Marital property, which is all property that the couple owns (Connecticut does not recognize “separate property” as do many other states), is divided as the court finds fair and equitable, but rarely equally. The court will consider a number of factors, including each spouse’s income and assets, earning potential, length of the marriage, and more in making a property division determination.
- Child support. Parents must provide for their children financially. If parents decide to seek a legal separation, they must decide with whom their children will live. The noncustodial parent is usually responsible for making child support payments to the custodial parent. The amount that a parent owes in child support is based on the state’s child support guidelines, which are determined by using a mathematical formula that takes into account the number of children and both parents’ income.
- Child custody. In a legal separation, as in a divorce, determining with which parent a child will live is often the most difficult part of separating. If parents cannot agree, a court will make its decision by considering the best interests of the child.
- Spousal support/maintenance. Spousal support, also called spousal maintenance or alimony, is very common in a legal separation. Alimony is possible when one spouse in the relationship is unable to reasonably provide for their needs due to a lack of employment, or the education or training to seek employment.
As with a divorce, when parties are legally separating, they have a right to present to the court an agreed upon plan that addresses the above issues. It is only when parties cannot agree about terms of a separation that the court becomes involved and makes decisions on a couple’s behalf.
The Benefits of Legal Separation
The biggest benefit of a legal separation is that it gives you and your spouse the much-needed time apart that is required to make a decision about how you want to proceed with your relationship moving forward. Some couples may choose, at the conclusion of their legal separation, to file for divorce; others may choose to file for a declaration of resumption, and go back to being married. A divorce, on the other hand, is final and cannot be undone. Divorce should not be pursued unless you are 100 percent certain that you and your spouse do not want to remain married.
The other benefit of legal separation versus just separating (where you and your spouse just live separately) is that when you go through the court system, you have the right to seek things like custody of your children, child support, and alimony. If you do not go through the court system and just choose to live apart from your spouse, you will not be able to seek these court orders, which you may very much need.
Of course, the downside of legal separation is that if you are absolutely certain that you do not want to remain married to your spouse any longer, legal separation does not provide you with the option of getting remarried until you have filed for divorce and the dissolution of your marriage has been finalized.
Work with the Legal Separation Attorneys at The Upton Law Firm
Who you choose to represent you as you pursue a legal separation could have a significant impact on how issues in your legal separation are resolved. The more experienced your Connecticut family law attorney, and the more comfortable and skilled your attorney is in engaging in negotiations and appearing before a court, the more likely your legal separation and related issues will be resolved in your favor. We have been serving clients in Connecticut for more than 40 years, and have watched Connecticut family law evolve over the past four decades. We are confident in our ability to competently navigate these laws and serve you.
We understand that going through a legal separation is a delicate matter, and when you are separating from your spouse, you want a caring and compassionate advocate on your side. We are a team of people who care about our clients and promise to work hard for you.
To learn more about legal separation and how the knowledgeable Connecticut family law attorneys at The Upton Law Firm can help, contact us in West Hartford at (860) 893-0558, in Milford at (203) 877-4141 or online now.