Couples considering a divorce may need some extra time to sort through the details. In these circumstances, they may decide to pursue a legal separation for a myriad of reasons to give them the time to determine the final terms of a divorce, or perhaps to eventually reconcile. A legal separation still requires certain formal filings, as well as an agreement between the spouses regarding issues such as support and possibly custody. The family law lawyers at Martin Heller Potempa & Sheppard PLLC can advise people throughout the Nashville area in seeking a legal separation and determining the terms of such an arrangement. Our firm represents Tennessee residents in all aspects of family law, whether you need assistance in filing papers for legal separation, negotiating custody or support arrangements, or handling another related issue. We are dedicated to ensuring our clients receive compassionate, high-quality legal guidance throughout what can often be an emotional time.Pursuing an Order of Legal Separation
The process and requirements for seeking a legal separation are similar to those for initiating divorce proceedings. One of the spouses must be a resident in Tennessee, or one of the spouses must have resided in the state for at least six months if the grounds for the divorce or separation happened elsewhere. In Tennessee, an individual may file for divorce based on fault or no-fault grounds, which is also true of legal separations. No-fault grounds for a separation are irreconcilable differences and lack of cohabitation as spouses for at least two years, which is only an option for couples without children. Grounds for separation based on fault include adultery, the inability of one spouse to procreate at the time of the marriage, willful or malicious desertion for one year, or a criminal conviction.
When they are seeking a legal separation, the spouses may either reach an agreement or file a motion for the court to decide such issues as child custody, visitation rights, parental responsibilities, child or spousal support, and property division. Ideally, a separating couple will agree on as many of these issues as possible with the assistance of their attorneys, but sometimes a court’s involvement is necessary. The court is also invested with the ability to grant a divorce to either filing party if there has been an order of legal separation in effect for over two years without reconciliation. Property obtained following an order of legal separation is classified as a spouse’s separate property and thus is not subject to equitable distribution upon the granting of a final divorce.Consult a Nashville Lawyer to Protect Your Interests during a Divorce
In determining whether a legal separation is right for you and your spouse, it is important to consider all the options. An order of legal separation is a contract and therefore binding on all parties, and it should not be entered into without careful consideration. The knowledgeable divorce attorneys at Martin Heller Potempa & Sheppard PLLC can guide Nashville residents and other individuals who are considering separation or dissolution. We can assess all of the factors relevant to your situation and assist you in coming to an appropriate agreement regarding issues of spousal support, property distribution, and any child custody or support matters. Our firm represents people throughout Davidson and Williamson Counties, including in Cool Springs, West Meade, and Franklin. Call us at 615-800-7096 or contact us online to set up an appointment to discuss your needs.