No two marriages are alike, and neither are any two divorces. While some couples confidently decide when it is time for divorce, others prefer a stepping-stone approach afforded by a legal separation. Others still find that legal separation suits their needs indefinitely.
Legal separation can be a step beyond casual separation or “taking some time away.” On the other hand, legal separation sometimes provides a legal framework for taking time away to consider the future of a marriage.
Like all but a handful of states, Oklahoma provides a legal process for the separation of married couples. Understanding the legal separation process can help you decide if it might be right for you. If you are considering a legal separation, you need the professional legal counsel of an experienced Tulsa family attorney for men.
The Legal Separation Process
The process of obtaining a legal separation in Oklahoma is much like the process of getting a divorce. You must first file a petition, and if you and your spouse are unable to come to mutually acceptable terms related to the division of marital property and child custody arrangements, the court will provide you with its arrangements based on its vast discretion in the matter.
The distinction is that you and your wife will remain legally married. It might seem an insignificant difference but there are important implications. Neither party may lawfully remarry unless they return to court for a divorce. One spouse may remain on the other’s insurance as a spouse. They can file taxes together. A legally separated couple can file for bankruptcy together.
Other couples pursue legal separation for religious reasons. Yet others find legal separation while legally married to be the best legal remedy that fits a long-time relationship. Whatever the reason, when the time comes to legally redefine a family relationship without divorcing, legal separation is the preferred alternative.
Division of Property in Legal Separation
Legally separating brings up the same division-of-property concerns that would be addressed in a divorce. Either the two parties will need to come to an agreement related to the equitable division of marital assets or the court will do it for them It is important to recognize, however, that the court’s ideas related to the equitable distribution of your marital property relative to your unique circumstances may be very different than your own.
Spousal Support or Alimony After Separation
The State of Oklahoma recognizes alimony as a means to bridge the gap when two divorcing or separating spouses who have truly disparate financial resources. In other words, the spouse receiving alimony must genuinely need financial help in order to manage, and the paying spouse must be capable of providing alimony. The purpose of alimony is to assist a financially dependent spouse while they establish a new financially independent foothold. The State of Oklahoma, however, does not have a predetermined formula for allocating alimony. Instead, it’s dependent upon the couple’s unique circumstances and the court’s discretion.
Child Support After Separation
Oklahoma child support, on the other hand, is determined by a specific calculation that factors in the couple’s unique circumstance. Child support can be calculated the same way for either legal separation or divorce. As with a divorce, details of a legal separation can have a significant impact on whether one party of the other will be ordered to pay child support.
Legal Separation Questions: Ask A Tulsa Divorce Attorney for Men
A legal separation can provide you with many of the same legal remedies as a divorce except that you and your wife will remain married throughout the pendency of the separation. Separation, however, isn’t something that should be entered into lightly, and it is important to recognize that you could face tax consequences or financial repercussions that you may not have initially considered.
An experienced Tulsa men’s divorce lawyer will help you explore what a legal separation could mean for you. Call me at (918) 986-7724 or contact me online for more information today.