Understanding legal separation in Alabama: Key pointers

People often believe that divorce is the only way to end a marital relationship in Alabama, which is not true. If divorce is not an option for you, you can consider legal separation, which could be a good solution in certain circumstances. Consider talking to a divorce attorney Huntsville, AL, to understand whether you could benefit from legal separation. In this post, we are discussing the differences between divorce and separation in the state.

The basics

Divorce is the ultimate end to a marriage. The process requires the separating spouses to decide on matters like the division of assets, child custody, child support, and alimony, and once the relationship is dissolved legally, both individuals are allowed to remarry again. If the couple cannot agree on key matters concerning the divorce, it would eventually end up in court. Contested divorces in Alabama take much longer. On the contrary, legal separation is similar but doesn’t end the marriage. If you are legally separated, you cannot remarry because you are still legally married to your spouse.

Why should you consider legal separation?

There are several reasons why couples choose legal separation over divorce. Because the divorce is the end of the marriage, many couples prefer to take time before making the decision, especially if there is a possibility of reconciliation. Many people also don’t want to get divorced because of religious and personal beliefs. With a legal separation, the couple can continue to have insurance benefits, and this could be a valid reason if one spouse is dependent on the other.

How to get a legal separation in Alabama?

Either or both spouses may approach the court to request legal separation, which only happens by a court order. In other words, you and your spouse cannot just assume that you are legally separated because you are living apart. Once the residency requirements are met, the court will pass the order, even when one spouse wants to live separately from the other. You are also required to state a ground for seeking legal separation, which could be the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage. You and your spouse are still required to handle matters like custody, child support, and alimony.

After legal separation, spouses can continue to live separately, but they cannot remarry and will have to ask the court to finalize the divorce before moving ahead. There is also the option of trial separation, which allows both spouses to discuss and decide whether they want to file for divorce or legal separation.

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