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Legal Separation: Life After Legal Separation

By Amy Rebecca Johnson

What are your options after a legal separation? Couples who are legally separated have three different possible routes after the legal separation:

  1. Continue to live (separate or apart) as a legally separated married couple;
  2. Reconcile with your spouse;
  3. Convert “Legal Separation” to “Dissolution of Marriage.”

The process for two of these three scenarios is actually quite simple. Obviously, to continue to live as a legally separated married couple, you do just that. Simply continue to live as you have been and keep following your legal separation judgment and orders, including provisions for child custody, child support, maintenance, and division of assets.

To reconcile with your spouse, a motion must be filed with the court to end the legal separation. This is done by filing a joint motion with the circuit court in which the legal separation judgment was ordered. It should be noted that this pleading must be filed jointly, meaning that both you and your spouse must agree to setting aside the judgment and you both must sign it. This motion allows the court to set aside the judgment of legal separation and any orders in place relating to child custody, child support, and maintenance will be revoked.

If you wish to convert your legal separation into a dissolution of marriage, you can do so 90 days after the judgment of legal separation has been ordered by the court by filing a motion with the court to request that the court convert the legal separation to a dissolution of marriage. The motion should contain facts that support your belief that the marriage is now irretrievably broken and therefore should be converted to a dissolution. The assistance of an attorney is recommended to provide the best hope that your motion to convert the legal separation to a dissolution will be granted.

For questions about this or other issues arising during divorce or legal separation, contact one of the family law attorneys at Paule, Camazine & Blumenthal, P.C.


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