Many people mistakenly believe legal separation is synonymous with divorce. In fact, they are two separate things entirely. While a divorce dissolves and ends a marriage, a legal separation, well, legally separates the two parties involved while keeping the marriage intact.
Some people find this to be a good compromise when they need a break but don’t want to rush to divorce. Others prefer to remain legally bound to continue enjoying health insurance and tax benefits associated with their marriage.
Whatever your personal reasons for choosing legal separation, you’ll need to prepare ahead of the separation to ensure it is successful. Vonnah Bagner of Bagner Law shares her advice for how to prepare.
Moving out is always stressful, especially if you’re about to try cramming the contents of a 3-bedroom home into an apartment on the other side of town.
Nonetheless, you, or your spouse, will need to find another place to live, schedule a move-in at the new place, and get it completed in order to begin your true legal separation.
If you intend to continue paying rent, the mortgage, or other bills associated with your former property, work out a forwarding system with your spouse or simply put in a request with the post office to have these documents sent to your new address.
Close the Joint Account
You may feasibly leave the joint account open if your legal separation is particularly amicable, but most individuals elect to separate their finances to retain more control on what is rightfully theirs.
Close joint accounts or remove your name from it. Cancel credit cards that your spouse retains access to if you don’t wish to be affiliated with them anymore.
In order to guarantee a clean split, it’s often best to separate finances entirely.
Review Benefits and Tax Implications
Are you staying married to enjoy health insurance benefits associated with the marriage?
It’s best to review the terms of the policy before officially splitting, as some policies might not allow for this and it could result in a lapse in coverage. Be double-sure before finalizing the legal separation that what you’re doing will still allow you to enjoy the benefits you’re expecting to retain.
This goes for tax incentives, retirement plans, and pensions as well.
Hire a Family Lawyer
Once you have mentally and logistically planned for a lot of what’s to come, you need to take the final step and hire yourself an excellent family lawyer. If you’re in the East Bay area, that would be Bagner Law, PC.
Even the most amicable of legal separations require lots of documents to be submitted and reviewed, procedures to follow, and other essentials that will ultimately determine how soon your legal separation is processed and what, specifically, the terms of it are.
Having a great family lawyer on your side will guarantee you get what you need and that everything is processed correctly.
Don’t leave anything to chance. Hire Bagner Law for your legal separation today.