How to File for Legal Separation

You could decide against pursuing a divorce in favor of a formal separation for a variety of reasons. As an illustration:

Maybe one of you or the two of you wants to get back together soon;

You two might depend on each other for health insurance;

In order to be eligible for military or Social Security benefits on the other’s account, one spouse may prefer to remain married; or

For religious reasons.

However, one should be aware of what legal separation is before filing for it.

It’s critical to understand the differences between marital and legal separation when a married couple decides to file for separation.

A legal separation: what is it?

A formal separation preserves the marriage while enabling the spouses to live apart and make written arrangements about things like children, money, pets, and other matters.

For whatever reason, you will need to do more than just live apart in order for most jurisdictions to grant you a formal separation. Most states require you to go through a procedure that is extremely similar to a divorce and involves the same issues in order to be legally separated, namely:

Visitation and custody of children

Child support and alimony

The allocation of joint assets and liabilities

7 Steps to file for a legal separation

A married couple is not required by law to reside together.

There are therefore no limitations on the legal separation procedure, should they decide to petition for it. Nevertheless, they are still legally wed and need to decide how they will handle things like assets, debts, visitation and custody of their children, child support, spousal support, and bills.

The seven steps to file for a legal separation are as follows:

Know the residence requirements in your state.

To find out about your state’s residence requirements, you must be familiar with its divorce laws. For instance, in some states, the filing of a separation petition requires that at least one of the partners reside there.

As a result, the regulations vary depending on the state.

Put separation documents in the file:

You start asking for and proposing terms for a legal separation in your local family court filing. In a separation agreement, your proposal should cover child support, alimony, visitation, custody, and the distribution of assets and debts.

Deliver official separation documents to your partner.

To get legally separated, you will need to serve your spouse with the separation papers, unless you and your spouse file for separation jointly.

Your partner answers

Your spouse has a set period of time after receiving service to reply and inform you and the court of their agreement or disagreement with your plan.

Resolution of disputes

You can go to the following step if your partner gives you an affirmative response. If your spouse is having trouble signing the formal separation documents, they may, nevertheless, file a counter-petition.

At this point, collaborative law or mediation will become relevant.


Once you and your spouse have discussed and agreed upon the conditions of your separation, the marriage separation agreement needs to be formalized, signed by both of you, and submitted to the court.

If your partner disagrees with the details of your proposal, you can attempt to resolve any disputed factual disagreements through mediation or negotiation. Should you be unable to reach a consensus, your case will need to be heard by a judge in court.

Your separation ruling is signed by the judge.

A court will sign your separation agreement and you will be officially separated whenever you have reached a mutual agreement on any contested points of fact or the judge has decided them. You won’t be able to be married again, though, because you will still be married.


It is crucial to realize that while each legal separation is unique, the material above provides a basic outline of the steps involved in filing for one.

Speak with a knowledgeable family law lawyer.

The aforementioned details provide a broad overview of the actions necessary to initiate a legal separation application nationwide. States, however, have different laws on marriage, divorce, and separation.

To make sure you are following the right procedures for a legal separation in your state, it is crucial that you speak with a knowledgeable legal separation attorney in the state where you now reside.

Myles Munroe talks about healing after a divorce or separation in the video below. He says it’s critical to regain one’s emotions, perspective, and feelings.

Although going through the intense experiences of grief and denial is normal, one must learn how to go past them.