Mt. Juliet and Lebanon TN

Everyone that has ever been married has gone through difficult times. Unfortunately, sometimes those tough times become unbearable. It is always devastating to determine when a marriage is over. Some people, although in pain, have not reached that conclusion but may no longer be living with the estranged spouse. A major question is which is right for you – divorce or legal separation?

The Law Office of Yancy Belcher has provided some information to help you better understand some of the issues involving divorce, separation, and how it affects you legally.

What is the difference between divorce and legal separation?

Getting divorced or legally separated address the same issues, which include: custody and visitation rights of any children, spousal and financial support, and division of property. Legally, the only difference is the status of the marriage; in a legal separation, the couple can decide to cohabitate at any time and continue to be recognized as married. In a divorce, they cannot; the couple must remarry if they wanted to be considered legally married again.

What is the process for divorce or legal separation?

The steps for filing for divorce or legal separation are similar. The first step involves a separation agreement, which is a legal binding contract signed by spouses, and it is intended to resolve property, debt, and child-related issues. The next step is the complaint. In the case of a legal separation, the petitioner does not ask to terminate the marriage, but he or she does ask the court to rule on the same things as in an absolute divorce. The spouse can object to the complaint in a divorce or separation on the basis of the grounds but not the separation itself. The grounds for a legal separation are the same as for a divorce.

According to Tennessee law, there are two types of grounds for divorce. There are no-fault grounds, which include 1) irreconcilable differences or 2) living separate and apart for two years without cohabitation when there are no minor children. There are also fault grounds for divorce. These include adultery, desertion, assault, cruel and inhumane treatment, drug use, impotence or verbal abuse. The final step is establishing legal residency. To file for a legal separation, at least one of the spouses must be a legal resident of Tennessee or have lived in the state for a minimum of six months.

Is filing for divorce or legal separation irreversible?

It is not a process that is irreversible. In the case of legal separation, the marriage of the couple is never dissolved, and the couple could cohabitate whenever they wish. When a couple files for divorce, the couple can drop the case whenever they wish. However, if the couple goes through the process and becomes legally divorced, the couple would have to remarry if they wanted to get back together as a married couple.

Do unhappy couples have to be legally separated to get divorced?

The spouses can be divorced in Tennessee without being legally separated first. Likewise, when spouses are legally separated, it does not automatically follow that they must divorce.

Divorce Attorney in Nashville

Marital problems are very stressful. Deciding between divorce and legal separation is challenging. To help review the pros and cons of each, and to assess your situation to see which option is the best fit, contact your Mt. Juliet divorce attorney by calling (615) 773-2889 to schedule a free consultation.

The Law Office of Yancy Belcher is proud to serve clients in Hermitage, Lebanon, and Mt. Juliet, TN.


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