Legal Separation in TN
For some couples, legal separation is an alternative to divorce, but there are still legal requirements.
When one or both spouses in a marriage know that their marriage has come to end, they do not always want to get a divorce. Sometimes, this is due to religious reasons while in other cases, one or both spouses may want to preserve tax or military benefits that would be forfeited in the event of divorce. If you want to end your marriage, but do not want to get a divorce, the most important things to know about legal separation in Tennessee are found below.
What is Legal Separation in Tennessee?
Obtaining a legal separation in Tennessee is almost identical to obtaining a divorce, with the only difference being that you are still legally married afterward. Additionally, you and your spouse must agree to the separation. If one spouse wants to file for divorce instead and they meet the requirements of the state, the court is obligated to proceed with terminating the marriage.
Just as Tennessee has a waiting period for divorce, there is also a waiting period associated with legal separation. If you have minor children, you will have to wait at least 90 days before your legal separation is final. If you do not have children, you only have to wait 60 days. Couples should use the waiting period to negotiate the terms of the separation, including the division of property, spousal support, and creating a parenting plan, if appropriate.
To obtain a legal separation, the court must finalize it, after which time you are free to enter into another relationship, create contracts for yourself, and generally live as though you are no longer married. If reconciliation occurs during the time you are legally separated, the court can terminate the order. After a period of two years, either you or your spouse can ask the court to convert the separation into a divorce.
Trial Separations in Tennessee
Sometimes, people do not want to obtain a divorce, but they also do not want to seek a legal separation. In these cases, a couple may separate and live apart and use that time to evaluate the marriage. It is still important to draft a separation agreement that will outline terms such as child custody, but there is no need for the court to intervene because family courts do not oversee trial separations. When a person violates the trial separation agreement, the only recourse the other party has is to file for a legal separation or a divorce.
My Tennessee Law Firm Can Help with Your Separation
If you are considering legally separating from your spouse or getting a divorce, call my Franklin law firm to obtain the legal advice you need. I am Judy A. Oxford, Attorney at Law, and I will advise you of all your options, negotiate with the other side, and help you draft a separation agreement that fully protects your best interests. Call me today at (615) 791-8511 or fill out the online form to schedule a free consultation so I can review your case.