We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

How do I File for Legal Separation?

Jessica Ellis
Updated May 17, 2024
Our promise to you
WiseGeek is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At WiseGeek, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

A legal separation is a court-approved agreement that allows a couple to divide up rights and responsibilities while still remaining legally married. Filing for legal separation is an important step, and requires careful consideration and preparation. In many regions, if a separated couple chooses to divorce, their existing separation agreement is used to determine a final division of assets and liabilities, thus it is important to ensure that agreements are fair and equitable when filing for a separation.

A couple does not need to file for legal separation in order to separate; some couples simply decide to split up for a period to determine if they want to remain married or divorce. A legal separation, by contrast, creates a legal framework for the separation period, so that each spouse is legally obligated to carry out certain duties and provide certain benefits. Some people choose to file for legal separation as a trial period before divorce, or may prefer a separation to divorce due to religious concerns, ability to receive or share benefits, and other personal considerations.

Before a couple decides to file for legal separation, it is first important to determine if the region of residency for a couple allows legal separation. Though many areas do, some US states, such as Texas, do not have a formally recognized separation. In areas that do not allow people to file for legal separation, divorce is often the only recourse for couples that wish to part.

In order to file for legal separation, at least one spouse must meet the residency requirement in the jurisdiction of the case. Residency requirements vary by region and typically require a verifiable residency of several months. Whichever court the separation documents are filed with will have jurisdiction over the case, so it may become important for one spouse to file first in order to have the court in his or her region handle the separation.

There are several considerations in a legal separation agreement that need to be worked out between spouses or through legal representatives. These issues include child support and custody, spousal support, provision of benefits, division of assets like property and cars, and division of financial responsibilities. Spouses who are able to amicably work out these details may be able to save a lot of money on lawyers and enjoy a much more streamlined separation process.

After the separation agreement is worked out, one spouse may file for legal separation by submitting a request to the court and have it served to the other spouse, or the couple may file a joint request. A spouse may file a counter-request if the settlement terms do not seem fair or agreeable, at which point the court will get involved in settling the agreement. If both partners agree to settlement terms, the documents can be signed and returned to the court, where they will be reviewed by a judge. As long as the judge believes the terms are fair, he or she will usually accept the agreement and grant a legal separation.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Jessica Ellis
By Jessica Ellis
With a B.A. in theater from UCLA and a graduate degree in screenwriting from the American Film Institute, Jessica Ellis brings a unique perspective to her work as a writer for WiseGeek. While passionate about drama and film, Jessica enjoys learning and writing about a wide range of topics, creating content that is both informative and engaging for readers.
Discussion Comments
Jessica Ellis
Jessica Ellis
With a B.A. in theater from UCLA and a graduate degree in screenwriting from the American Film Institute, Jessica Ellis...
Learn more
WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.