What is the Difference Between Divorce and Legal Separation in Arizona?
Many people want to know the difference between a divorce and a legal separation in Arizona. There are many reasons you might choose a legal separation over a divorce. The main difference between the two types of family law cases in Arizona is that a divorce completely dissolves the legal status of the marriage and returns each spouse to the status of a single person.
A legal separation does not dissolve the legal status of the parties’ marriage and does not, therefore, return each party to the status of a single person. A person who is legally separated, therefore, can’t get married.
The court is required in both an Arizona divorce case, as well as an Arizona Legal separation case, to divide the parties’ debts and assets, enter orders regarding the care, custody, and control of the parties’ children, enter a spousal maintenance award, if appropriate, and order the payment of child support.
Generally, all assets and debts incurred by either party subsequent to the service of the Petition for Dissolution of Legal Separation or Petition for Dissolution of Marriage will be the sole and separate property and/or debt of the party acquiring that property or debt. The same is true after a divorce or legal separation becomes final.
You might choose a legal separation over a divorce for several reasons. Specifically, if you have been married for less than ten years and you want to be eligible to make a claim for higher social security benefits under your spouse’s social security benefits, you may choose a legal separation over a divorce.
You also might choose a legal separation to stay on your spouse’s employer sponsored group health insurance plan. You need to first verify that the group plan permits you to stay on the plan if you are legally separated. Lastly, you may have firmly held religious beliefs against divorce, in which case you may choose a legal separation over a divorce.
Contact Our Scottsdale Arizona Divorce Attorneys
If you are in need of a divorce lawyer in Arizona, the family law firm of Hildebrand Law, PC is only a phone call away. Our attorneys handle all types of divorce cases in Arizona. Please call (480) 305-8300 if you wish to speak with our Arizona divorce lawyers or have additional questions regarding Arizona divorce laws.