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Legal Separation

Legal Separation in Tennessee

Jackson firm assists spouses seeking a divorce alternative

Some spouses agree that they should no longer share the same home, yet wish to remain legally married. In these cases, Tennessee law gives these couples the chance to obtain a legal separation, under which the parties can establish enforceable terms addressing parenting and financial matters without dissolving the union. At Grant & Sain, PLLC in Jackson, we are experienced family law attorneys who assist spouses considering legal separation. Regardless of your specific circumstances, our firm will guide you through the process, protecting your interests every step of the way.

Comparing legal separation with divorce

In Tennessee, separation is similar to divorce in that an order is issued concerning child custody, visitation, child support, asset division and alimony. Either spouse may file a petition for separation as long as they meet the six months’ residency standard necessary to file for a Tennessee divorce. However, separated spouses remain married under the law and must obtain a full divorce if they wish to marry someone else.

Reasons why you might choose to separate

There are several reasons why you might opt for separation instead of divorce, such as:

  • Religious or moral principles — Some faiths discourage divorces except in extreme situations. If you believe that dissolving your marriage violates your religious or moral principles, separation could be a good option.
  • Access to benefits — Maintaining access to a spouse’s health insurance coverage or veteran’s benefits could lead someone to maintain a legal marital relationship.
  • Financial concerns — Couples who share ownership of a business, share ownership of complex financial holdings or face additional taxation in the event of a divorce could choose to stay married while living in different homes.
  • Possibility of reconciliation — Relations between spouses can vary over time. Though significant problems exist, you might decide to preserve your legal union in the hope that you can resolve your differences.

Whatever your particular situation entails, speaking with an experienced Tennessee family lawyer will help you determine if separation is the best path for you.

Process and timeline for legal separations

While you are permitted to initiate a divorce action against the wishes of your spouse, both parties must agree to a legal separation. Our firm can help you negotiate an agreement that discusses key matters such as where your children will live, what type of visitation the noncustodial parent will have, who will live in the marital home and whether the higher-earning party will send support payments to their spouse. Drawing on decades of experience, we can develop a framework that sets forth clear, comprehensive terms that can be incorporated into a separation order.

When you file a motion requesting a legal separation, you must cite one of the grounds listed in Tennessee law. Many parties choose to file without alleging fault by declaring that there are irreconcilable differences between the spouses. If you have one or more minor children, you must wait at least 90 days before the judge can enter the separation order. This period is reduced to 60 days for childless couples. In the event that you’re not sure about changing your legal status, you might negotiate a trial separation where you and your spouse form a contract addressing financial and parenting terms, without filing any documents with the court. You can count on our firm to give you sound counsel on all of your options and to handle the necessary legal details once you have chosen a course of action.

Contact a knowledgeable Tennessee attorney to discuss legal separation

Grant & Sain, PLLC in Jackson represents Tennessee spouses in legal separation proceedings and other family law matters. To schedule a consultation, please call 731-256-7477 or contact us online.

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    2817 N. Highland Ave.
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    Jackson, Tennessee 38305
    Phone: 731-256-7477
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