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Birmingham Divorce Lawyer > Blog > Legal Separation > Legal Separations And Alabama Law

Legal Separations And Alabama Law


According to Alabama law, marriages can end when one spouse dies or when the court issues an order of dissolution of marriage (also known as divorce) or annulment.  Each of these is much more final than any of the things we refer to as spouses being separated.  In practice, married couples do not always live in the same house every day of the year; they might be apart for months at a time because of work or family caregiving obligations, even though they still think of themselves as a family unit.  Meanwhile, Alabama recognizes an action known as legal separation, which is where the spouses officially divide their marital property and, if they have minor children together, their parenting time, without getting legally divorced.  Most couples who do not want to be together anymore choose divorce instead of legal separation, but legal separation is a better option under certain circumstances.  If you are weighing your options regarding divorce, legal separation, or staying together and working through your differences with your spouse, contact a Birmingham legal separation lawyer.

How Is a Legal Separation Different From a Divorce?

Legal separation is different from divorce because, even after the court approves the legal separation, the couple remains legally married.  This means that they count as married for tax purposes, and one spouse can still include the other on health insurance plans.  In most cases, it is possible to divide the couple’s marital property so that, even after divorce, the financially disadvantaged spouse would still be able to afford taxes and health insurance.  In other words, the main motivations to choose legal separation over divorce are not usually financial ones.  Sometimes the parties want to leave the door open to reconciliation, or else they are sure that they do not want to divorce because they are opposed to divorce for religious reasons.

How Is a Legal Separation Different From a Postnuptial Agreement?

If you do not want to divorce your spouse, and you want to continue living together, but you want to resolve disputes about marital property, a postnuptial agreement is a better option.  These agreements are like prenuptial agreements, except that the parties enter into them while already married to each other.  Postnuptial agreements are especially effective for couples who frequently disagree about financial support of adult children from previous marriages.

How Does a Legal Separation Affect Your Immigration Status?

If your immigration status is tied to your marriage to your spouse, such as if you have a temporary green card, you may lose your immigration status and your right to remain in the United States if you divorce.  Getting a legal separation instead might be a better solution, but you should consult an immigration lawyer before you decide.  If you are separating from your spouse because of domestic violence, you may be able to keep your immigration status even after divorce.

Contact Peeples Law About Legal Separation

A Birmingham family law attorney can help you file for a legal separation or divorce from your spouse or draft a postnuptial agreement.  Contact Peeples Law today to schedule a consultation.



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