Washington Legal Separation

Five (5) reasons to get a Washington legal separation.

Ever wonder why you may want a Washington legal separation rather than an outright divorce?  There are three big advantages of legal separation over just getting a divorce.

1.   Reconciliation.  The first advantage is the ability to hit the reset button. Metaphorically, legal separations have the the great advantage of allowing you to exercise and hit that gigantic undo button later on in life if you decide that going your own way might be a mistake.

2.  Second, it’s fast.  You can get legally separated as fast as it takes to fill out the paperwork.

3.  Three, it provides certain financial advantages, especially to the lower earning spouse after separation without tremendous costs to the other party.  For some splitting spouses, a legal separation is preferred because of religious or personal views.  The most common economic advantage of legal separations are the ability to share health insurance coverage.  In fact, insurance and health coverage issues for the wife are the number one financial reason separating couples opt to get a legal separation instead of just getting a divorce.

4. Avoiding religious stigma.  If it’s against your faith to divorce, legal separations provide a mechanism for you to move on in your life without necessary getting a divorce.

5. Personal or culture preferences.   Personal preferences or culture stigma can play a significant roll in the decision making over divorce.  Like religious reasons, some people are just opposed to ending things by divorce completely.  Fortunately, you don’t have to do so.

What is a “Washington legal separation?”

In the State of Washington, legal separations are just like divorces, except the couples aren’t divorced.  Opting to legally separate rather than `divorce completely’ means that in the eyes of the “State”, your property and children rights are the same as if you two weren’t married, but legal connections remain.

For our purposes, a legal separation is a divorce.  The key difference being you aren’t divorced.  Legal separations are executed legal agreements or written court orders that are called a “Decree of Legal Separation”. All official legal separations require a judge’s signature.

Sometimes couples choose to legally separate while they try to work things out between them.  In these instances, couples enter marriage therapy while going through the legal separation process.

In the event they reconcile their marriage, they retain the option of setting aside the legal separation later, there by keeping their marriage intact.

If you or someone you know is looking at legal separation as an option, a skilled Seattle divorce attorney from our firm can assist with the legal documents that are needed.

Like preparing for a divorce, there are decisions that need to be made, and having legal representation at your side to guide and educate you through that process will produce the best possible outcome.

What are the main differences between legal separation and divorce?

The most basic difference between legal separation and divorce is the outcome.  After a legal separation is finalized, the legal relationship between the spouses remains unchanged.

Ending a marriage in divorce severs the legal connection. In either case, putting together legal agreements will be necessary to make decisions about property division, custody matters, as well as child and spousal support.

Since the legal connection remains, should the parties wish to reunite, the option is available without the stigma associated with having gotten a divorce.  This reason has been very important to many of our clients in the past.

There is also a significant speed component that is worth thinking about when deciding between legal separation and divorce.  We’ve been able to get people legally separated within one business day provided there is agreement on property and children issues.

Can a person get a divorce if they have legally separated?

In Washington State, you can covert your legal separation into a divorce after six months.  In order to do so, you will bring a motion to convert the legal separation before the same original court that granted the legal separation.

At The Seattle Family Law Group, it is important to us that our clients get the right solution for their needs, whether that be legal separation, divorce, or reconciliation.

To obtain an attorney that can provide strong advocacy and sound advice, contact our office at (206) 633-2015 to arrange a consultation.  Regardless of your decision, it never hurts to not lose sight of the emotional consequences that result from the decisions you are making right now that will affect your future, and that of your children.

If you are looking at legal separation, or have decided to move forward and need legal representation, contact our team to sit down with a Seattle legal separation lawyer from our firm as soon as possible.