Melissa Miller Law Firm, L.L.C.
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Divorce or Legal Separation?


When people ask about legal separation in Alabama, they are usually talking about marriage separation agreements that preface a divorce, during which time a couple begins to live separately.  There are also times when a couple does not wish to file for divorce due to religious reasons.


  In Alabama, in order to arrange a marital separation that is legally enforceable in court, a couple may take the following actions:

  • File for divorce
  • Enter into a separation agreement
  • File For Legal Separation
  • File for Separate Maintenance

Otherwise, a couple may choose to live separately on their own free will.  


Legal Separation


Legal separation may be appropriate where one party wishes to live apart from his or her mate but does not desire to obtain an absolute divorce.  Neither party can remarry while the decree is in effect.   A court approving a petition for legal separation may award temporary support, alimony, child support, custody, and make all other orders like those made when a final divorce is entered.


Separate Maintenance


Separate maintenance differs from Legal Separation in several ways.  A party requesting a separate maintenance need not prove that he or she has the grounds to obtain a final divorce and is purely within the discretion of the court.  A petition for separate maintenance may be sought by a party when the parties are living apart and through no fault of the party, the other refuses to support either the party or the parties' children.  The amount of the award is based on the abandoning party's income and the abandoned party's need for his or herself and the minor children. 


Our firm can help you determine if either a legal separation or separate maintenance is right for your situation.


Contact us today for an initial consultation for your legal separation case.




Legal Separation