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Difference Between Legal Separation and Divorce in Arizona

Posted on : May 12, 2017, By:  Christopher Hildebrand
Difference Between a Divorce and Legal Separation In Arizona

Difference Between Legal Separation and Divorce in Arizona

As family law attorneys, we are asked about the difference between divorce and legal separation and divorce in Arizona. The reality is that there are more similarities than differences between a divorce and a legal separation in Arizona. This article will provide you with insight on the similarities, as well as the differences, between a legal separation and a divorce in Arizona.

Differentiating Legal Separation and Divorce

It is not uncommon for couples to find themselves facing difficulties in their marriage that lead to one or both parties believing it would be more beneficial for the partnership to end. While divorce is most likely the first thing that comes to mind, couples have another option they can utilize to make the process easier. Legal separation is a commonly used solution for couples seeking a resolution to their marital qualms without completely dissolving the marriage.

Difference Between Legal Separation and Divorce in Arizona Difference Between Legal Separation and Divorce in Arizona

If you are considering putting an end to your marriage, you may want to weigh the options of both legal separation and divorce, figuring out which one best fits your needs. Family law matters like divorce are complicated and pose many potential problems, which is why having an expert to guide you through the process is highly beneficial. If you and your spouse find yourself in a separation or divorce situation, call the team at Hildebrand Law for help.

Legal Separation in Arizona

A legal separation is different from a divorce in that it does not fully dissolve the relationship of the two parties involved. Instead, obtaining a separation means that, while the legal status of the marriage is left in place, the involved parties are no longer part of a joint marital community. This means that any debts, purchases, earnings, or other similar acquisitions belong solely to the person to whom they belong, but the status of the marriage is not terminated.

Separation is often considered the minor version of a legal end to a relationship, where divorce is the end of the line, both literally and metaphorically. Legal separation comes in varying shapes and sizes, ranging from trial separation to full legal separation. A trial separation is suitable for couples who are unsure of their circumstances and want to experiment with the idea of a legal separation or divorce without making such a move official too hastily.

There are several reasons why a couple may elect to go the route of separation rather than divorce, which we will discuss in another entry. However, it is not unheard of for spouses to make the best of an unfortunate situation by capitalizing on bypassing the divorce option. Divorce, on the other hand, is the complete termination of the marriage. In no capacity are spouses still connected regarding belongings, debts, and other financial obligations that are incurred following the end of the marriage.

However, a divorce can mean other issues will arise such as alimony and spousal support and other past financial matters. The reasons spouses will opt for divorce over a legal separation can vary, but often boil down to irreconcilable differences. Rather than being legally obligated to each other in a minimal capacity, a divorce gives the parties the ability to completely be free of obligations, except for things like court-ordered alimony or child custody questions if the spouses have children together.

Similarity of a Legal Separation and a Divorce in Arizona

While the differences between divorce and separation are staggering, both avenues will share common ground in their aftermath. Like any family law situation, shared property and lives bring with them plenty of outcomes. For example, child custody issues are obviously going to be prevalent when it comes to a legal separation as they would in a divorce. A legal separation means the parents are not living in the same home, so the care of the children must be delegated accordingly.

How Legal Separation Differs from Divorce in Arizona How Legal Separation Differs from Divorce in Arizona

Alimony and spousal support are also prevalent in both separation and divorce, as the separation can mean one spouse is unable to support their way of life immediately following the filing and fulfillment. Many issues will present themselves in both divorce proceedings and legal separation, so if you have any questions, it is best to seek out a legal professional with family law expertise to guide you through.

The processes involving legal separation and divorce are complicated and have the potential to be utterly confusing. Not only do they have a lot of similarities, but the differences are staggering and important. Divorce is the complete termination of marriage, leaving no connection between the spouses, save for things like children and jointly incurred debts. Legal separation, on the other hand, is a way for spouses to keep certain facets of their relationship intact while not being legally bound.

Both of these options have aspects they cannot avoid, most obviously including child custody and child support, as well as the question of alimony or spousal maintenance payments. While unfortunate, sometimes the best answer for both spouses involved in such a case is to end the marriage and find a way to move on in their lives.

If you find yourself facing a difficult situation such as this, don’t face it alone. Trust legal professionals with years of family law experience to guide you through the processes and get the most desirable outcome possible. At Hildebrand Law, we provide Arizona residents with some of the finest legal services around, so get in touch and see how we can help you today.

Hildebrand Law, PC

4900 North Scottsdale Road, Suite 1500
Scottsdale, Arizona 85251
Phone: (480)305-8300

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