How to get a legal separation without a lawyer

Married couples wish their marriage last forever as their vows intended to be.

But, sometimes the plan does not go according to the hopes and expectations, and you have to go on by separated paths.

As a consequence, you face the question, how to get a legal separation without a lawyer.

If the separation it’s amicable, a legal separation might be the best and easy going option.

Before legally separating from your spouse, there are some things to have agreed on, such as:

  • Finances
  • Children
  • Assets
  • Housing and all the logistics

The most inexpensive way to work things out is between husband and wife.

They should agree on everything or at least most of the things regarding their legal separation.

So there will be no need for a lawyer.

Another thing that you should be clear on is what is a legal separation and how is it different from a divorce.

The first difference is that a legal separation starts with an agreement of the spouses and filing a motion with the local court with the terms of the agreements put in writing.

You can do this without an attorney, and ask the judge to enter the agreement as an order of the court.

After its approval, your status will change to “legal separated”.

Legal separation Vs. Divorce

Legal separation Vs. Divorce

To be legally separated is a major change of the marriage status; this has to be made through the Superior o Family Division Court, it can take from 8 to 10 months and it is very similar to divorce because both include:

  • Visitation rights
  • Final custody
  • Child support
  • Alimony orders
  • Division of assets and debs

The main difference between a legal separation and a divorce is that with the first one you are still married and the wife does not have to resume her former name.

Why choose legal separation form divorce if it can take as long and also cost as much, the answer is that in some cases people rather do it this way because of moral and religious beliefs.

Also, there is the health insurance coverage that will change with a divorce, but no when the couple gets legally separated.

Check these link to know the benefits of the legal separation

Steps to get a legal separation

There is a procedure to follow when you want to get a legal separation, but the number one step is to read the state law to get to know the requirements and how are different from getting divorced.

The first thing to get into account is the residency situation.

Met the residency requirements

Met the residency requirements

After you learn the residency requirements for your state law, fulfill them and file the petition of separation and file it in court, to get guidance on the procedure, get in touch with the court clerk.

You must also check the state law in order to know if you can file a legal separation because there are some states that do not recognize it, such as South Carolina

Collect the financial documents

There are some documents required by the court to go on the file of your petition, make sure you have them:

  • Federal and tax income
  • Tax returns
  • Pay stubs
  • Loan applications or financial statements form the last 3 years
  • Mortgage application
  • Child’s support worksheets and schedules

File the agreement

The separation petition has to be accompanied by the agreement between the spouses, by that time you must have an understanding of the issues related to separation.

  • Child custody
  • Child support
  • Spousal support
  • Repartition of assets and debs
  • Duration of the separation

There are many things to have discussed and agreed on, even the behavior around the child regarding dating.

And the guidelines of co-parenting the children.

Another thing to have in mind is to pay the court fee, it will depend on the state, but generally, it is around $200.

If there is no agreement on the separation

In the case, the wish to get a legal separation is just from one of the spouses and the petition is not jointly, then you will need to have your spouse served after the petition is filed.

The other part will have a period of time to respond to the petition of a legal separation.

Be prepared for any kind of scenario

Your spouse may not agree on the petition and can file another a counter-petition.

If you do not reach an agreement with the help of a mediator, you will have to go in front of a judge the issues are legally settled.

Bear in mind that getting a legal separation can have a long and complicated process as getting a divorce.

And if you have made a partial agreement, the judge will decide the rest for you.

Attend the court hearing

Attend the court hearing

  • The court clerk will give a date for the court hearing and you should attend that day.
  • You have to be familiarized with the court rules and procedures.
  • participate in the mediation is there is the need for one.
  • Bring all the documentation along with the petition to present it to the judge.

Notarize the agreement

On the contrary, if you reached an agreement with your spouse.

Then you can sign the agreement document and get it notarized, so the court clerk can file it for the judge’s approval.

Both spouses have to keep in mind that once the agreement is filed into court, it is a binding contract that both must follow to the letter.

Follow the guidelines of your legal separation agreement

Once the judge has reviewed and signed the petition and the separation agreement, the document will be filed and go on record with by the court clerk.

Make sure that you make a duplicate of this document and fulfill it having in mind that it is a binding contract by law; therefore you will have to follow the guidelines.

Even though each state has its own laws and regulations, these guidelines can help you to start the process of getting a legal separation from your spouse.

Keep in mind that there are forms Online that you can get access to, in order to make your petition and agreement of legal separation.