Since you have finally made up your mind to separate from your spouse legally but are yet ready to file for divorce, your first and foremost step can be to file for legal separation. You need to, however, realize that this is an important legal process just like a divorce. Check out the following steps for filing for legal separation.
Step 1: Are you meeting the residency requirements of your state?
You need to comply with the residency needs of your state. It is good to know that these requirements are same for both divorce and legal separation.
Step 2: File a petition for your legal separations
In case you comply with the residency requirements, your next step will be to file a petition for your legal separation. This is only possible when legal separation is permissible in your state. This can be done with the help of an attorney, filing pro se, getting in touch with a court clerk or through online resources.
Step 3: You need to also file an agreement for your legal separation
When you file a petition for your legal separation, it is imperative to also file an agreement containing the various clauses applicable during the time you are legally separated from your spouse, Please ensure that all relevant issues are covered in this agreement including spousal support, visitation rights, child support, who will pay the debts, how to take care of the marital assets, child custody, who will live where, and so on.
Step 4: When your spouse and you do not file a joint petition for legal separation, your spouse has to be served after filing the petition.
Similar to a divorce, a spouse will get a reasonable time period within which he or she needs to respond to a petition for the legal separation filed.
Step 5: Right of filing counter-petition
When your spouse has reservations about the provisions mentioned in the petition, he or she enjoys a right for filing a counter-petition In case that happens, and both of joy are unable to arrive at an agreement even via mediation, you may have to appear before the court for setting the conflicting issues.
Step 6: Both parties to sign the agreement if the petition’s provisions are mutually agreed upon
When both the parties do not have any reservations to the provisions mentioned in the legal separation agreement, they will have to sign as well as not notarize that agreement so that it can be entered into the records of the concerned court for being approved by a judge.
Step 7: Agreement is filed after the judge reviews and signs it
After a judge has completed reviewing the agreement if a legal separation, he or she will sign it so that it can be filed and recorded. You should have a copy of this agreement with you.