You face a lot of questions when you are thinking about leaving your marriage. Perhaps you aren’t really sure if you should get a divorce, but your spouse is racking up debt that you are afraid you will be saddled with if you wait too long to decide. Perhaps the marriage has become intolerable, but your faith forbids divorce. In these situations, you might want to consider a legal separation. Here is what you should know before you decide.
What Is A Legal Separation
According to Section 518.06 of the Minnesota of Statutes, a legal separation is a court determination on the rights of both parties without ending the marital status of the parties. The decree can include custody, parenting time, child support, and possibly spousal maintenance orders. The court can also provide orders that divides the couple’s assets and debts.
When you want to get a legal separation, the first step is to file a petition in the district court of your county. This petition must include the following information:
1. Your spouse’s name and address
2. The names, social security numbers, and birth dates of any dependent children or minor children from both before and during the marriage. If you are expecting another child, this child must also be referred to according the Minnesota Statutes.
3. The date and location of your marriage
4. Whether there are separate proceedings for divorce, legal separation, or custody going on, including any in other states
5. That there is a need for a legal separation
6. Whether an order of protection under chapter 518B or a similar rule is in effect for any of the parties and, if so, the jurisdiction in which the order was entered
7. If you have applied for any type of maintenance, child support, division of property, child custody, or attorney’s fees
The second step in getting a legal separation is to serve your spouse with the summons either in person or through a process server. You can ask the court to let you mail it to him or her if you can’t find your spouse. He or she will have 30 days to answer your petition.
Once your spouse answers your petition, you and your spouse can hammer out the details of how you will live and separate your properties. You will have to figure out the custody arrangements and divide your debts. If you and your spouse can agree on everything, the judge can grant you a separation without further ado. If you two can’t agree on some things, then the judge will hold a hearing and decide in favor of a side.
What Grounds Do I Need?
The Minnesota Statutes say that the courts will grant a legal separation when the court finds that one or both parties need one. If you petition for a legal separation and your spouse doesn’t contest it, then the court will grant it. There are no grounds mentioned.
The Difference Between Divorce And Legal Separation
When you get a divorce, your marital status is terminated. You can remarry and change your last name. There is also a residency requirement: one or both spouses will have to have lived in Minnesota for at least 180 days.
A legal separation is a big change in your marital status, but despite the property being divided and child custody having been changed, you are still married to the other person. You can convert a legal separation into a divorce proceeding, but there is more paperwork involved.
Tetinger Law Firm knows that anyone contemplating a legal separation is going through a hard time. We offer free case reviews for all new clients, and we will be glad to hear your case. Please contact us or call us at 952-953-3330 for more information.