Legal Separation

If you hope to reconcile with your spouse or are philosophically opposed to divorce, legal separation may be an option for you. Legal separation also may offer financial advantages over divorce. If you live in the Valley or the surrounding communities, the attorneys of Shaffer Family Law are available to help you understand the advantages and disadvantages associated with a legal separation, so you can make decisions that are best for you and your family.

Why Legal Separation Instead of Divorce?

An order of legal separation does not terminate the marriage and the parties are not free to remarry. Couples choose legal separation instead of divorce for many reasons. You may hope to reconcile with your spouse after a period of separation. Or you may be opposed to divorce for philosophical or religious reasons. In many cases, legal separation is also preferable to divorce for financial reasons.  Certain employment, retirement, and medical benefits are retained, though the specifics involved in deductibles and how catastrophic health care issues are covered may be affected by a legal separation.

Our family law and divorce lawyers will explain and discuss the legal and financial consequences of a legal separation. We have represented hundreds of clients in legal separation and other family law actions and we understand what is at stake, both emotionally and financially.

Legal Separation in Arizona

In Arizona, there is no waiting period or residency requirement to file for legal separation. However, to file for divorce, at least one spouse must have been a resident in Arizona for at least 90 days prior to the filing of the Petition for Divorce.  Couples who do not meet the residency or jurisdictional requirements for divorce can file for legal separation and then have the petition modified into a divorce action.

Before you and your spouse can be legally separated in Arizona, you must resolve child custody, parenting time, and spousal maintenance issues. You may also resolve other issues, like property division. Although you retain some financial and tax benefits, for all intents and purposes, it will be as if you were divorced with respect to other financial matters. As a result, you will not be responsible for any debt incurred by the other party after the separation.

The attorneys of Shaffer Family Law sort through each issue with you so that you understand your options and the legal and financial consequences of your separation. We work closely with you, whether in court or through out-of-court negotiations with your spouse, to create a legal separation agreement that meets your needs.

Serving the Valley and the Surrounding Communities

The attorneys of Shaffer Family Law serve the Valley and the surrounding communities, including Pinal, Pima, Yavapai and Coconino counties. Contact Shaffer Family Law online or call (480) 368-5362 today to consult with us about your circumstances and whether legal separation is a good option for you.

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