WHAT IS LEGAL SEPARATION?
In Kansas, about 14% of females (162k) and 12% of males (133k), aged 18 and above, are either separated or divorced. Married couples can choose to file either for divorce or separation maintenance (a "legal separation"). A divorce permanently terminates the marriage, whereas a decree of separate maintenance allows the spouses to live apart and have a settlement agreement while they remain legally married.
If you are considering a legal separation as an alternative to divorce, it is crucial to consult with an experienced Kansas legal separation attorney for proper guidance. Jeffers Law Office provides comprehensive legal services to clients in their legal separation cases. Attorney Mark Jeffers can offer you the experienced legal guidance you need and help you navigate key decisions. He proudly serves clients in Overland Park, Olathe, Leawood, Lenexa, Shawnee, and Prairie Village, Kansas as well as throughout Johnson County, Wyandotte County, Leavenworth County, and Miami Counties in Kansas.
HOW DOES LEGAL SEPARATION
DIFFER FROM DIVORCE?
Divorce is a process that permanently terminates a marriage. After the divorce, the spouses will be restored to their previous legal status (single). However, in a legal separation, the couples establish a separate maintenance agreement while they remain legally married. The couples agree on terms of the separation, including how parental rights and responsibilities will be allocated, property and debt distribution, as well as child support and spousal support arrangements.
SITUATIONS IN WHICH LEGAL
SEPARATION MIGHT BE AN OPTION
A legal separation might be an appropriate option for a couple when the parties:
Have a moral, religious, or social objection to divorce
Want to preserve the marriage but live separate
Want to preserve certain marital benefits such as medical, insurance, or retirement benefits which may terminate in the event of a divorce
Want a trial period of separation (or living apart) to ensure that they are ready for divorce
Want to provide a stable home for their minor children
Want to avoid the trauma of divorce
Want to live separately but remain protected by court orders regarding property division or alimony issues
OVERVIEW OF THE LEGAL
SEPARATION PROCESS IN KANSAS
To file for legal separation in Kansas, one of the spouses must file a Petition containing information such as:
The name of each spouse
The number of minor children of the marriage
The names and years of birth of each minor child
The address of the minor children
The date and place (county and state) of the marriage
In addition, couples seeking legal separation will be required to provide the Kansas court with a legally acceptable reason for the separation. Fortunately, Kansas is a “no-fault” state. There is no need to point accusing fingers. Rather, you can claim irreconcilable differences or incompatibility.
Couples will need to negotiate the separation terms, including asset and debt division, child custody, child support, and spousal support. If the parties are unable to agree to the terms of the settlement, the court will resolve any outstanding issues at a trial, and the legal separation will be finalized once the final Decree of Separate Maintenance is filed.
A separation agreement is a legally binding contract that provides detailed information about how the spouses intend to settle property and debt division issues, child custody, child support, and spousal support. The contract must be signed by both parties. It remains legally binding and in effect until it is modified or terminated by the court. The parties are encouraged to work together with an attorney to create a fair agreement in the best interest of their family.
SEEKING THE ASSISTANCE
OF A FAMILY LAW ATTORNEY
Creating a separation agreement or filing for legal separation can be emotional and involve complicated processes. Consulting with a knowledgeable attorney is crucial for proper guidance and help in preparing the contract.
Attorney Mark Jeffers is committed to handling legal separation matters and helping families find solutions to various marital issues. He will work diligently with all parties involved to establish a fair separation agreement and will provide the experienced legal guidance you need to navigate key decisions in your legal separation case.
Call Jeffers Law Office today to schedule a free telephone consultation with an experienced Kansas legal separation attorney. Attorney Mark Jeffers proudly serves clients throughout Overland Park, Olathe, Leawood, Lenexa, Shawnee, and Prairie Village, Kansas as well as throughout Johnson County, Wyandotte County, Leavenworth County, and Miami County in Kansas. He will help you understand everything involved in the legal separation process, protect your rights, and represent your family's best interest.