Once you have decided to separate legally from your spouse, your next step should be to find out how to file for separation. However, before doing this initial step, it is vital that you ensure you understand fully that legal separation is a legal and binding contract that is just as vital as divorce.
In addition, everything you have agreed with your spouse in the legal separation agreement could be used as precedence.
That is, if you agreed that your wife should continue to live in your marital home and you continue making mortgage payments, the judge can order you carry on with it after the divorce. If there is something that you will not agree with in the divorce settlement, do not agree to it during the legal separation.
How to File For Separation
The first step in how to file for separation is to meet the residency requirements of your particular state.
Such requirements are used for both divorce and legal separation. To know the residency requirements of your state, check your local divorce laws.
Once you have met your state’s residency requirements, you should then file a petition for legal separation in the court.
You can do this by talking with an attorney, contacting the court clerk to file pro se, or by using internet resources.
You should file the legal separation agreement along with the petition. Ensure that all issues are covered by the agreement including child support and custody, spousal support, visitation, who will live where, who will pay the debts, what will happen to your conjugal assets as well as guidelines and rules about having other individuals around children who are minors.
It should also contain the duration of the legal separation.
You should have your spouse served, if you are not filing jointly. Like divorce, there is a certain period where your spouse is allowed to respond to the legal separation petition you made.
If the provisions set forth in the petition are not agreeable to your spouse, he or she is eligible to file a counter petition in court.
If it is done and mediation did not bring you to an agreement, the case will have to be taken before the court to settle your issues.
If the provisions set forth in the petition are agreeable to your spouse, you both have to sign the agreement and have it notarized, so that it can be entered into the records by the court clerk for the approval of the judge.
Once the petition has been reviewed and approved by the judge, it will then be filed and placed on record by the court clerk.
Once this has been done, make sure that you have your own copy. This will be for your personal records.
These are the steps in how to file for separation. However, laws differ between states so make sure that you talk with a lawyer first to ensure that your rights are protected and you are taking the right steps in how to file for separation.