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Who is eligible for a legal separation in Minnesota?

Last week, our blog took a closer look at what the law in Minnesota has to say regarding annulments, which not only result in the legal dissolution of a marriage, but also treat it as having never happened.  

In today's post, we'll continue our discussion of legal processes that are akin to divorce by examining legal separations.

First and foremost, it's important to understand that there is a distinction between separation and legal separation, meaning the terms can't be used interchangeably.

Separation means the two spouses are no longer living under the same roof and still legally married. While no formal paperwork needs to be filed with the court in the event of a separation, such an arrangement can affect a spouse's rights.

Indeed, it may be necessary for separated spouses to consider speaking with an attorney to help formalize arrangements concerning everything from child custody to financial support.

As far as legal separation is concerned, this process is much like divorce in that it necessitates the filing of a petition in district court and the serving of this petition on a spouse. More significantly, it will result in a significant legal change in marital status.

Indeed, the similarities between divorce and legal separation are that they both involve asking a judge to issue final orders concerning child custody, child support, property division and alimony. Furthermore, they both cost roughly the same amount of time and money.

The key difference, however, is that even though your marital status will change, you are still considered married in the eyes of the law when legally separated. This can be important to people for a variety of reasons ranging from religious beliefs or moral principles to financial concerns or insurance purposes.

It's important to make clear that those spouses who are legally separated can ultimately decide to divorce upon completion of the legal separation. However, they will still need to complete the process via the courts.

Consider speaking with an experienced legal professional to learn more about divorce, annulments or legal separations.  

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