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Ali Kirk
Ali Kirk, Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 244
Experience:  14+ years experience in divorce, custody, visitation, child support and paternity matters.
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I want to file for a legal separation. Neither one of us can

Customer Question

I want to file for a legal separation. Neither one of us can afford to live anywhere else but the home we both own. We have been in separate bedrooms for 2 years and have "no" children and or huge assets. I am a homemaker and have no income or benefits other than the ones provided for me by my husband for 16 years now. Divorce is a real possiblity down the road...but we want to live as a separated couple as far as our personal lives go. We cannot sell this house because of the economic forcast and have to wait until this changes. Thank you....Eileen
Submitted: 8 years ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  Ali Kirk replied 8 years ago.
Hello, thank you for your question.

I am happy to try and assist you, but I need a little more information. Can you tell me what state you're living in?

Also, do you only want to know the process of a legal separation (and if it is indeed possible in your state), or do you have another question?
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Well.....not just the process....but I want it to be more official that we R separated so this can entitle us to see....if we want oter people. I don't know...maybe we don't need a legal separation to do this.....I thought we did. I am in Surpris Az
Expert:  Ali Kirk replied 8 years ago.
Thank you for your reply.

Legal separation is an option in Arizona, however, the process is only slightly less complicated than a divorce. This is because the parties and/or the courts must still go through the process of dividing all assets and determining all liabilities, just as you would in a divorce, except in the end, you are still legally married. The downside to this, of course, is that neither party may legally remarry, and often times, the parties later decide they want to divorce anyway, which requires additional paperwork, money and time.

If you're just looking to "date" other people, you're probably better off separating, but not filing for a legal separation. Then if you do decide that the marriage is broken, you could move forward with a divorce.

Good luck to you. If you have any additional questions, please press the reply button, and I will be happy to assist you further.

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Customer: replied 8 years ago.

one more thing...then legal separation is really about dividing finances and declaring that one party is no longer responsible for you.....sorta speak. Seeing other people is just one of the added dimensions of living apart as legally separated? Since we still live in the same house....would you suggest that I have my husband sign something I type up stating that he understands that we R declaring the seperation. I am concerned that ol.....she cheated on thingy will come up in a divorce proceding. tha

Expert:  Ali Kirk replied 8 years ago.
Technically, yes, a legal separation is exactly like a divorce, without the divorce -I mean you still go through all the steps you would in a divorce, but don't have the decree to show for it. You still divide everything, and in cases where people have children, they decide child support, visitation, etc. Doesn't sound like it would be worth it for you in your situation.

Unless you have the 'higher form' of marriage in Arizona known as a "covenant marriage", the only grounds you can use for a divorce in Arizona is irreconcilible differences. Given that, a statement that you both agree that you will see other people, etc., really may not be much of a factor, because it can't be used as grounds for divorce, though it could be used to try to get alimony, etc.

I think it depends on your relationship. There's a lot of couples out there who separate for a time to see if they are going to divorce or not, and know that one another are seeing other people at the same time and what's going on, but don't use it against the other as "ammo" in a subsequent divorce. Besides, they would have to PROVE that you committed adultery during the marriage, which could be pretty tough.

But, if you would feel better with a signed agreement, why not BOTH of you write separate agreements that say something like "This is to acknowledge that I, (your name) understand that my spouse (spouse's name) and I are going through a trial separation. During this time, we acknowledge to one another that we may have relationships with other people, including those of a sexual nature, and that I will not use this knowledge against my spouse in any subsequent divorce proceeding." Remember though, no agreement will change the fact that you are still technically under the law married, and having a relationship with another is adultery. I don't believe the written agreement will hold much weight in a court of law.