There are many commonly held misconceptions about what legal separation means in Connecticut. When the actual implications of legal separation are carefully considered as an alternative to divorce, legal separation is often rejected in favor of pursuing the dissolution of marriage (divorce) process. However, there are particular reasons why legal separation may be a better fit in certain circumstances.
In order to obtain a legal separation, the parties go through the same process they would to obtain a divorce. Parties can seek temporary financial orders for example, can go through the same discovery process, and end up either with a judgment after trial or a separation agreement that may look almost identical to what would occur in a divorce. What’s the difference? The parties are still technically married and cannot remarry. For many, if they are going to go through the same process as they would with a divorce, they may as well get divorced.
There are certain circumstances where a legal separation may be the preferred alternative, though. One example is for religious reasons. If the benefits of a divorce are needed but termination of the actual marriage would run contrary to religious beliefs, then legal separation may be the better alternative. There may also be circumstances where benefits would remain available to a legally separated spouse, that might not be available to a divorced ex-spouse. However, that issue should not be taken for granted and should be carefully examined to determine whether how the particular benefit(s) at issue consider legal separation.
After a legal separation has been ordered, it may also be relatively easily dissolved in the event the parties reconcile and resume their marriage. A legal separation can also be converted to a dissolution of marriage, although that can be slightly more complicated, especially if there is any question of whether the parties resumed marital relations at any point since the judgment on the legal separation was entered.
If you are considering legal separation and want to discuss whether it is the right option for you, the lawyers of Needle | Cuda are ready to counsel and assist you with determining whether that process is the right approach for your situation.
Alexander J. Cuda is a highly respected family and matrimonial law attorney. With numerous published articles and speaking engagements, Alex’s leadership in family law is well-known. He has been named one of the “Top 10 Family Law Attorneys in Southern Connecticut” by such organizations as the National Academy of Family Law Attorneys, the American Institute of Family Law Attorneys, and AVVO (2017-2023). In addition to his prolific divorce litigation practice, Attorney Cuda also handles complex divorce appeals. Attorney Cuda volunteers to help victims of domestic violence at the Greenwich, CT YMCA and is passionate about fighting for expanded child support for qualifying special needs children.