Legal Separation in Tennessee
Is there an option lying somewhere between being married and getting divorced? If you keep fighting and you think that maybe, getting time apart will help you resolve your issues, and end the hate that is spewing, then you should talk to a family law attorney. Before you end a marriage you can salvage or stay in a relationship; there is one thing you can do – get a legal separation.
In Tennessee, a legal separation is the last straw that decides whether you get a divorce or not. In simple terms, legal marital separation in Tennessee may help you come back to the surface and breathe if you were drowning in the marriage. In some cases, it is known as “Divorce from bed and board” as the process puts to an end marital cohabitation. It is the available alternative to a divorce.
How Does the Legal Separation Work?
The process of legal separation shares several similarities with divorce, but you stay married after signing the legal separation documents.
In the legal separation process, the court addresses issues of child custody, support, visitation, alimony, and property division. It doesn’t grant a divorce. However, none of the decisions made are permanent except the fact that the separation puts to an end cohabitation between husband and wife.
In Tennessee, the legal separation processes aren’t as common as divorces. As a result, some of the Tennessee judges will interpret certain provisions of the statute differently, depending on the factual situation, and how the separation may affect the parties in the long-term. For example, if the judge notices that the legal separation makes little sense to one spouse, he or she may disapprove the Legal Separation Agreement.
The Differences Between Legal Separation and Divorce
The primary distinction between a legal separation and divorce lies in the fact that an absolute divorce dissolves the bonds of marriage but legal separation doesn’t.
Order of Legal Separation
Legal separation orders couples to live independently and to end cohabitation. Also, for legal separation, the couple cannot remarry during the period of separation as that would result in bigamy. Also, the couple cannot have extramarital relations as it would count as adultery.
Note this: whether a couple has minor kids or not, an order of legal separation allows a couple to cease living together without their separation becoming fault-based and grounds for divorce. Abandonment and desertion are some of the grounds for divorce.
Grounds for Legal Separation
- Irreconcilable differences
- Desertion for one year
- Inhuman and cruel treatment
- Impotence and incapacity to procreate
- Pre-marital pregnancy
- Attempting to kills one’s spouse
- Refusal to move to Tennessee
- Conviction of a felony crime
- Conviction of an infamous crime
- Two-year separation with no minor children
If you stay separated for at least two years, then the court sees that as a ground for a divorce.
Why Choose Legal Separation
- The process of legal separation is similar to that of a divorce so; it is expensive. The attorney fees are also high, and since most Tennessee Marital Separation Agreements end in divorce, the whole process is just expensive. With these in mind, why do couples seek legal separation?
- Insurance purposes – most couples remain legally separated for a spouse to stay on the other spouse’s health insurance. After a divorce is granted, health insurance is only extended to minor children, not former partners.
- Staying married – for personal, philosophical, or religious reasons, some couples choose never to divorce, choosing instead to live separately but to remain married.
- Estate plan – in Tennessee you can get a legal separation if your valid Last Will and Testament leaves everything to “my spouse” as an effective testamentary gift.
Property Division in Legal Separation
Since the possibility of reconciliation exists in a legal separation, the court can decline to distribute the couple’s marital property. With no permanent division of assets, both spouses retain their family businesses, property title, and pensions, among other things.
Marriages work, or they don’t, and you can ask for a divorce or not, but, when you think that you can reconcile and have a healthy marriage after taking a break, then you should consider getting a legal separation. This Marital Separation Agreement will help you move this along.
Whether you live in Nashville, Memphis, Knoxville, Chattanooga, Clarksville, Murfreesboro, Franklin, Jackson, Johnson City or any other city of Tennessee, you can use our legal forms easily.