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Legal Separation

Experienced Family Law Attorney Facilitates Legal Separation in Nashville

Reliable guidance to protect your rights when marriage isn’t working

If you’ve reached the point in your marriage where you cannot continue to live with your spouse but you’re not ready or able to divorce, you should consider a legal separation. Simply living apart from each other puts you and your children at too great a risk. A legal separation agreement establishes terms for child custody, child support, spousal support, and sometimes the division of your property. The only difference between a legal separation and an absolute divorce is that you and your spouse are not free to remarry. If you’d like individualized counsel on legal separation, call for a consultation at WalshLaw. I have more than 15 years of experience in Tennessee family law and am ready to give you the time and attention your concerns deserve.

Who should choose legal separation rather than divorce?

There are many circumstances in which a legal separation makes more sense than an absolute divorce. You might consider legal separation if:

  • You hope you can reconcile — All marriages go through highs and lows. You may have reached the point with your spouse where you cannot bear their current behavior but hope they can reform. Perhaps your spouse has a problem with alcohol, drug abuse or gambling. You need to protect yourself, your children, and your finances, but you still hope for a reunion at a later date.
  • You have a religious objection to divorce — Certain religions, such as Catholicism, Jainism and Sikhism, believe that marriage is indissoluble. Other religions allow divorce, but frown upon it. Legal separation allows you the protection of a civil divorce without actually dissolving your marriage.
  • You need to preserve your right to benefits — Often a couple needs to remain married for benefits to continue or to vest. You might need healthcare coverage from your spouse’s policy. If you are a military spouse hoping to share in a service member’s pension or retain Tricare health benefits, your marriage must last at least 10 or 20 years, respectively.

To understand whether legal separation is more appropriate for your circumstances than an absolute divorce, you must consult an experienced family law attorney who can answer your questions patiently and thoroughly.

The process for obtaining a legal separation in Tennessee

The process for obtaining a legal separation is the same as for divorce with one important difference. A petitioner files a complaint citing grounds for the separation, such as irreconcilable differences, adultery, cruelty, habitual drunkenness or some other misconduct. The other spouse files a response, and the case moves forward. As with divorce, the couple must settle their core issues or take those issues to trial. These include alimony, child custody and child support. But, the judge in a legal separation action can exercise discretion with regard to property division. The judge can enter an order dividing the property now, or leave that issue for later deliberations.

Parenting plans during legal separation

Parents who are separating must develop a parenting plan that meets with court approval. The same child custody laws that apply for divorce apply in separation, and parents can create a plan through traditional negotiation, mediation or litigation in court. It’s important to take the creation of your parenting plan seriously. Many parents think of legal separation as a temporary arrangement, so they are willing to accept minor impositions to get a plan done, but legal separation can last longer than you might expect. And if you do decide to get divorce, a judge can use your current parenting plan as the basis for a parenting plan post-divorce. So, compromising too much now can hurt you in the long term. When you hire me to manage your separation, I am prepared to fight for your parental rights, securing them now and into the future.

Contact my Nashville, TN office for a consultation on legal separation

If you are considering a legal separation, you need reliable advice and guidance throughout the process. WalshLaw provides honest counsel and zealous representation that protects your rights. To schedule a consultation, call 615-240-7457 or contact my Nashville office online. My office is located at 4535 Harding Pike, just west of White Bridge Pike and Woodmont Boulevard.

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Office Location
  • Nashville Office
    4535 Harding Pike
    Suite 108
    Nashville, Tennessee 37205
    Phone: 615-915-0760
    Fax: 877-297-7310