Most people who are no longer happy living with their spouse choose to end their marriage in divorce. That’s not the only option, however. You can choose to get legally separated in Alabama, meaning that you will live apart but still be married in the eyes of the law.

People choose separation over divorce for many reasons. Some people want time apart but haven’t given up on their marriage yet. Others choose to stay married for financial, religious, or personal reasons. Whatever the reason, there are situations when choosing legal separation makes the most sense.

What Are the Requirements for a Legal Separation?

To get legally separated in Alabama, there are a few simple requirements:

  • At least one spouse must have lived in the state for a minimum of 6 months
  • One spouse wants to live separately from the other
  • The filing spouse can provide a reason for the separation request

The reason you give for wanting a legal separation does not have to be different from a no-fault divorce. You can simply explain to the court that your marriage has broken down or that you and your spouse have found that you are not compatible.

How Do You File for Legal Separation in Alabama?

To get legally separated, you must file a petition with the court. This application will prove that you have met the requirements for legal separation. However, it’s also important to create a separation agreement that outlines both you and your spouse’s responsibilities. This document will offer important legal protection should either of you fail to fulfill your responsibilities.

A separation agreement should outline decisions that you and your spouse make regarding child custody and child support, property division, and spousal support. If you are unable to reach an agreement, the court can intervene. However, it’s always best to work together and avoid litigation.

It’s important to note that once you are separated, any property you obtain is considered separate property. However, if you enter a new relationship and wish to get remarried, you must ask the court to convert your separation into a divorce.

Is Legal Separation Better Than Getting a Divorce?

Relationships are complicated and each situation is different. Getting a legal separation might be the best choice in your situation, or divorce might make more sense. Talking to an experienced divorce attorney can help you decide how to move forward.

To learn more about the differences between a legal separation and a divorce, call our Birmingham law firm a call at (205) 858-9224. Our dedicated family law attorneys can walk you through the process and help you figure out what’s best for you and your family.