Although the process of obtaining a legal separation is similar to a divorce, the two are very different. While a legal separation acknowledges that a couple is no longer living together, the two parties will still be legally married after the separation is granted. Some couples may choose to file for a legal separation when their relationship isn’t working out as an alternative to filing for divorce.
Key Differences Between Legal Separation and Divorce
As mentioned, a legal separation acknowledges that a couple is no longer living together but doesn’t legally end their marriage. Some other important differences between a legal separation and divorce include:
- When a couple chooses to legally separate, neither party may be able to change their last name.
- Legal separation allows for a spouse to continue receiving health care coverage if they are on their husband or wife’s policy. When a couple divorces, a spouse is no longer eligible for coverage.
- During the time a couple is legally separated, neither party can remarry.
Eligibility Criteria for Obtaining a Legal Separation in Alabama
In order for the court to grant a legal separation, Section 30-2-40 of the Code of Alabama says the following requirements must be satisfied:
- “The court determines that the jurisdictional requirements for the dissolution of a marriage have been met.”
- The court is able to determine that “the marriage is irretrievably broken or there exists a complete incompatibility of temperament or one or both of the party’s desires to live separate and apart.”
- If children are involved, the court has “considered, approved, or provided for child custody, and has entered an order for child support in compliance with Rule 32 of the Alabama Rules of Judicial Administration.”
Filing for a Legal Separation in Alabama
Because the process of filing for a legal separation is similar to filing for divorce, meaning child custody and support issues, alimony, etc. are likely to be addressed, it is important that anyone who is seeking a legal separation hire an Alabama family law attorney for assistance. The lawyers at Hill, Gossett, Kemp & Hufford, P.C. are familiar with all areas of family law and are eager to help individuals resolve their family-related matters.
Anyone who has already been granted a legal separation in Alabama who wishes to convert it into a divorce should also contact Hill, Gossett, Kemp & Hufford, P.C. for legal help.
Disclaimer: No representation is made that quality of legal services provided is greater than the quality of legal services provided by other attorneys.
Hill, Gossett, Kemp & Hufford, P.C. can be reached at:
2603 Moody Parkway, Suite 200
Moody, Alabama 35004
Phone: (205) 640-2000
7900 Parkway Drive
Leeds, AL 35094
Phone: (205) 699-5500
6441 U.S. Highway 11
Springville, Alabama 35146
Phone: (205) 467-2225