Dorris Law Group

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Understanding Legal Separation

Arizona legal separation is a provision in family law where a couple can remain legally married while living separate and apart. Arizona statutes explicitly recognize the concept of a legal separation. Since either member of the marriage can defeat a separation by filing for dissolution of the marriage, it is a tool typically used by couples who are seeking to work out issues in the marriage, or, for other personal or financial reasons, do not wish to divorce. Oftentimes, an agreement can be worked out between the parties, which will then be presented to the judge for approval.

Contact the time-tested Tucson legal separation attorneys at Dorris Law Group for a free, no-obligation evaluation of whether a legal separation is right for you.

Working On The Relationship

Frequently, a legal separation is entered into when the spouses wish to work on the relationship, but need some space in order to do so. In that situation, one spouse may want to move out while the partners are getting counseling or are otherwise working on improving the marriage. If one spouse can’t afford to live on his or her own while the couple tries to save the marriage, the court can set up temporary alimony or support arrangements. Alternatively, the parties can mediate a legally enforceable settlement agreement providing the terms of what would in effect be a permanent separation.

Reasons For Seeking Arizona Legal Separation

There are a number of factors that lead couples to seek legal separation in Arizona instead of divorce. Among them are:

  • Religious concerns: Many couples are members of religions where divorce is forbidden. Legal separation allows for many of the benefits of divorce without actually having the marriage dissolved.
  • Personal preferences: While societal attitudes toward divorce have changed greatly over the past few decades, many people still see it as a stigma and prefer the route of a negotiated separation.
    Continuing to share in your spouse’s Social Security credits: The Social Security Administration takes the position that if you are legally married to the worker, all of the rules regarding spouse’s benefits apply, even though the couple is estranged and living apart.
  • Remaining on a spouse’s health insurance: When one spouse is dependent on the other’s medical insurance to treat a major illness, this can be of paramount importance.
  • Residency requirement: In Arizona, you must be a resident of the state for 90 days before you can bring a dissolution of marriage action. There are no residency requirements for filing a petition for legal separation.

Contact Us

Contact the sophisticated, compassionate and understanding Tucson legal separation attorneys at Dorris Law Group for a free, no-obligation evaluation of whether legal separation is right for you. Call us at 520-622-4866 today.

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