The terms “legal separation” and “separation” mean different things in family law. In an informal separation, spouses agree to live apart with no help from a Divorce Attorney In Dayton OH. During a legal separation, a judge issues an order that makes the breakup final and changes both spouses’ status.
How a Legal Separation is Different from a Divorce
Divorces terminate the marital relationship, while a legal separation allows spouses to live apart while retaining their marital status. They are similar in that spouses can ask the court to fairly divide marital assets and decide issues like spousal support and child custody. The primary difference between legal separation and divorce is that spouses are still legally married, and entitled to benefits like Social Security.
Getting a Divorce Requires a Hearing
If spouses decide to get divorced, one person must file a petition to start the process. A divorce is said to be uncontested if spouses agree on every issue, and it is contested if spouses cannot agree on issues without help from the court. Though a couple may be separated, they are still married until a judge issues a divorce decree.
Residency is Required for Legal Separation
To petition for a divorce, you must reside in the state hearing your case, and legal separation carries the same requirement. Courts cannot hear legal separation cases unless both parties are under their jurisdiction. One spouse or the other must reside in the state where the separation hearing is to be held. If neither spouse resides in the state, no jurisdiction exists and the court cannot grant the separation.
Legal Separation and Tax Status
The IRS sets rules on federal tax status, and your marital situation on the last day of the year determines your tax situation. If your separation was legal on December 31, you are considered as single, and both spouses must file as single on their tax returns.
Tax laws are complex, as are those surrounding divorce and legal separation. The information supplied here is very broad and general in nature, and should not be used in place of legal counsel. For advice that directly applies to your case, please call a family law or Divorce Attorney In Dayton OH as soon as possible.
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