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What is a legal separation?

  • By: Lorilee Desantis
  • Published: August 21, 2020

A legal separation is the same as a divorce except that at the end of the process, the parties are still legally married and may not remarry. Some parties elect this option for religious or cultural reasons or because one of the parties has significant medical needs and may not be able obtain health insurance once no longer married to the spouse. After a Judgment of Legal Separation is entered, either party may file a separate dissolution action to terminate the marital status (i.e., to become divorced) but may not reopen the issues already decided in the Legal Separation (such as property and debt division). Once a Judgment of Legal Separation has been granted, neither party may amend the Judgment for a Judgment of Dissolution (a separate action for dissolution must be filed).

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