Legal Separation

Legal Separation - Tulsa Family LawyersA legal separation is an exception to the rule that a husband and wife cannot alter their legal relations (except as to property) by contract.(Okla. Stat. tit. 43 § 205). This means that a court will not enforce contracts between married parents regarding custody and visitation. A legal separation allows you to get a court ordered custody agreement and perhaps spousal support but is just short of a final divorce. A Legal separations are very similar to divorce.

Once you file a legal separation the matter is set for a temporary order hearing. At this hearing, either by agreement or after a hearing, a temporary order is entered. This order is temporary and deals with all things related to the marriage. This includes things like child custody and visitation on a temporary basis. It may also include spousal support and division of marital debt. If you and your spouse resolve your marital problems you can file to dismiss the case. If on the other hand you can’t resolve the problem, the separation agreement can convert in to a divorce filing.

Purpose of Legal Separation:

The policy behind legal separation is to give the parties additional time to reconcile before divorce. Sometimes a simple breathing period is enough.  Perhaps during this short time the couple is be able to sort through their problems. The reality of the situation is that sometimes this is in fact the case. As a divorce attorney I’ve filed many separations that ultimately end in reconciliation.

Still others choose legal separation rather then divorce because of religious beliefs. Many faiths forbid divorce. They only allow the parties to end their relationship if they first get an annulment from their Church. This period of separation allows the two time away from each other until their religious organization provides for annulment.

Oklahoma Separation Requirements:

The requirements for filing a separation are different then for a divorce. For a separation you only need to be in the State for thirty days. Sometimes this is used to get around the six month requirement needed to file a divorce. This reduced time allows new residents to get temporary orders in place for custody visitation and support. Once the six month residency requirement is met the separation can be converted into a divorce.

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