Written by Michelle N. Ogborne

Legal Separation vs Divorce in Arizona

Legal Separation vs Divorce Arizona

Legal separation, in Arizona, is a legal process allowing a couple to live apart while still being married, vs. divorce, which is the legal process of terminating a marriage. Here you will learn the similarities and differences between legal separation vs divorce.

Reasons to Choose Legal Separation vs Divorce

Reasons to get a legal separation vs a divorce include:

  • To stay married for religious reasons or moral objections to divorce
  • To continue receiving benefits such as social security or health insurance
  • To serve as a trial period to determine if the marriage can be saved. One of the benefits of legal separation is that you will not have to marry again if you choose to stay together.
  • To use when you are not 100% sure you want to get a divorce
  • To keep finances, separate, divide debts and assets and protect yourself from the other spouse’s future debt
  • To avoid the stress of negotiating a divorce agreement

According to AuritMediation, “In Arizona, Legal Separation is a viable alternative to divorce for some married couples. For financial reasons, religious reasons, reasons that include possible reconciliation, or even reasons involving health insurance coverage, spouses sometimes decide to move forward with legal separation, rather than divorce.”

Reasons to Choose Divorce vs Legal Separation

Reasons to get a divorce vs a legal separation include:

  • To end the marriage permanently
  • To get married to someone else
  • To avoid paying for a legal separation and then a divorce

Similarities Between Legal Separation & Divorce

  • In both legal separation and divorce, parties must make agreements on parenting time, legal decision making, and community property division
  • You live separately
  • Both divorce and legal separation take a similar amount of time to complete
  • The community property relationship between spouses is terminated

Differences Between Legal Separation & Divorce

  • With a legal separation, the marriage is still valid, vs. a divorce where the marriage is legally terminated.
  • In a legal separation you are not allowed to remarry, vs. a divorce where you are free to remarry.
  • With a legal separation the decision can be reversed, vs. a divorce where the decision is final.
  • Legal separation is temporary, vs. divorce which is permanent.

How Long Can You Be Legally Separated in Arizona?

Legal separation is only meant to be a temporary separation before moving on to divorce or reconciling the marriage.

According to DivorceNet, “Legal separations are, for the most part, temporary and intended to be a placeholder for reconciliation or divorce. Life moves quickly, and it’s common for separated couples to request a divorce when one spouse plans on remarrying, which a party can do by filing a request with the local court.”

The agreement will automatically terminate if one of the spouses passes away or if either spouse files a divorce petition and receives a divorce decree.

Benefits of Legal Separation in Arizona?

There are many benefits of getting a legal separation in Arizona including:

  • Stay married for religious reasons or moral objections to divorce
  • Continue receiving benefits such as social security or health insurance
  • Legal separation can be used as a trial period to determine if the marriage can be saved. One of the benefits of legal separation is that you will not have to marry again if you choose to stay together.
  • Can be helpful when you are not 100% sure you want to get a divorce
  • Legal separation helps keep finances, separate, divide debts and assets and protect yourself from the other spouse’s future debt
  • Helps avoid the stress of negotiating a divorce agreement

According to MyModernLaw, “If a spouse has significant health issues and the cost of health insurance would be prohibitive, the parties may choose to pursue a legal separation in order that the spouse needing the medical insurance may remain on the other spouse’s coverage.”

What is a Legal Separation Agreement?

According to Forbes.com, a legal separation agreement is: “a legally binding agreement between you and your husband to resolve issues such as the division of assets and debt, alimony/spousal support, child support, and visitation.”’

How Long Does Legal Separation Take in Arizona?

How Long Does Legal Separation Take in Arizona

Legal separation takes about 90 to 120 days in Arizona from start to finish on average according to multiple national sources. Filing a petition for legal separation is the first step. After you file a petition for legal separation you must wait up to 30 days for your spouse to respond. It takes about 60 days or 2 months after they respond to get a divorce decree in Arizona.

Do I Need a Legal Separation Lawyer?

Every situation is different. It is a good idea to retain a family lawyer who will help you understand the legal separation process.

Ogborne Law, PLC can advise and assist with disclosure of assets and debts, allocation of assets and debts, and orders for child custody, child support, spousal maintenance, and more

Choosing between legal separation and divorce can be painful and difficult. Doing it all yourself, though, makes it even harder.

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Speak with Our Legal Separation Lawyers in Phoenix, Arizona Today

Ogborne Law can help with a legal separation in Arizona. Our legal separation lawyers have many years of experience in drafting separation agreements. Our law office is located at 5020 E Shea Blvd Suite 240, Scottsdale, AZ 85254 inside the Paradise Valley Plaza.

While the legal separation process is not for everyone, it can save you money, stress, and hassle vs getting a litigated divorce. Speak with our legal separation lawyers in Phoenix, AZ to find out if legal separation is right for your family.

If you’re ready to start your consultation with Ogborne Law, visit our Consultation request page.

Contact Ogborne Law today and let us show you how we can help protect your kids and your family.