Although divorce is sometimes appropriate for couples in Kentucky who have serious problems or divisions within their marriage, it is not the only legal option they have available to them. In some situations, it may be better for two spouses to legally separate for a period of time. This allows them to potentially resolve the difficulties that were driving them apart or simply serving as an alternative to the permanent dissolution of their marriage.
Various unique regulations apply under state law to legal separations and the separation agreements they are built upon. All of this could be difficult to understand and navigate without a skilled marital agreement attorney’s guidance. By working with a qualified Florence separation agreement lawyer, you could more effectively protect your interests and rights throughout every stage of this often-complicated process.
How Legal Separation Differs from Divorce
The primary distinction between legal separation and divorce is that, in the former scenario, the marriage of the two spouses remains legally intact in every way. While legal separation may last for a while, it is broadly intended to be a short-term measure that may be appropriate in situations like the following:
- There are serious issues with a marriage, but they may not be irreconcilable
- Either party is opposed to divorce for religious, social, or moral reasons
- One spouse would like to stay on their partner’s employer-provided health insurance or maintain other marriage-related benefits like tax breaks
- Preserving the marriage would be in the best interests of children produced by the relationship
Legal separation can also be used as a prelude to divorce, in which case the terms established through a separation agreement may be incorporated into a divorce agreement without too much additional work. A Florence separation agreement attorney could discuss options on a case-by-case basis during a confidential consultation.
Rules for Drafting an Enforceable Separation Agreement
Under Kentucky state law, a person cannot file for legal separation—either by themselves or jointly with their spouse—until at least one party involved has lived in Kentucky for 180 days minimum. In order to finalize the separation, both parties need to have been living separate and apart for 60 days minimum prior to filing. The filing party must also provide specific grounds that their legal separation would be based on, but since Kentucky is a no-fault divorce state, those grounds can simply be that the marriage is “irretrievably broken,” if applicable.
During or prior to the 60-day waiting period that must pass before a judge can approve or deny a petition for separation, both parties may address through a separation agreement virtually all the same issues that would come up during divorce proceedings. This means establishing in advance how matters like spousal and child support, property division, and even custody of children will be handled during the proposed separation.
If there is any disagreement about what arrangements would be preferred in any of these regards, the court has authority to step in and make a final, legally binding decision on both parties’ behalf. In light of that, it can be essential when drafting a separation agreement in Florence to have help from a seasoned lawyer. This helps with following applicable state laws and with advocating for a fair agreement that respects everyone’s wishes as much as possible.
Learn How a Florence Separation Agreement Attorney Could Help
Deciding to legally separate from your spouse can be a major turning point in your life, whether it allows you to mend your relationship or ultimately ends with a divorce. Either way, it is crucial that the separation agreement you form as part of this process is comprehensive, equitable, and above all, legally enforceable.
Retaining a skilled Florence separation agreement lawyer is vital to creating an agreement that meets all these criteria. Call today to learn more.