Divorce laws can vary between states. If you’re filing for divorce in Minnesota, you might wonder whether you’re required to legally separate before the divorce is final.
Minnesota does not require legal separation before divorce. Here’s what you need to know before you decide your next steps.
Legal separation is usually a temporary legal agreement between spouses. Unlike informal separations, where one spouse moves out or otherwise puts the relationship on pause, legal separations involve the justice system.
Don’t confuse legal separation with divorce: spouses are still married during the separation, but there may be temporary court orders for child and spousal support. In many cases, the legal separation may only last one year; in others, you may be able to indefinitely continue the separation in lieu of divorce.
Divorce, on the other hand, is a permanent resolution. All issues must be settled before it is granted, and there may be additional child or spousal maintenance orders. At the end of a divorce, you are no longer married.
There are many reasons people might try separation instead of divorce. It’s a good way to take a “break” from the marriage to work on ongoing issues, while protecting your assets and potentially providing spousal and child support benefits. Some couples choose legal separation because their religion or community does not permit divorce, but they are unable to make their relationship work.
While you can legally separate before divorce, it’s not required. If you want to work on your marriage while taking time apart, a legal separation can provide for your financial needs. However, if you’re positive your marriage is irretrievably broken, it’s usually wise to move forward with divorce.
The experienced divorce and separation lawyers at Appelhof, Pfeifer & Hart, P.A. in St. Paul, MN can help. Call today for a consultation.
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