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What if I need to separate but do not want to divorce?

| Feb 22, 2021 | Divorce

Many residents of the Lexington area may be reluctant to get a divorce even if life at home is becoming unsafe.

For example, the religious faith or moral values of many Kentuckians may make them wonder if options other than divorce exist, as they may be torn between their values and other critical priorities, including safety and stability for themselves and their children.

In other cases, a couple may just not be emotionally ready to go through a formal divorce, as it may seem like a big and permanent step. In some couple’s circumstances, there can be financial or other practical advantages to staying married.

Legal separation is an option in Kentucky

While this is not true of every state, Kentucky allows its residents to ask for legal separation instead of a divorce.  The grounds for legal separation and the process for doing so are basically the same as a divorce.

The big difference in the two processes is that a couple in a legal separation are still married in the eyes of the state law.

There are a couple of other important differences. For one, both parties have to agree to the legal separation. If one person asks for a legal separation but the other insists on a divorce, the court will grant a divorce.

Similarly, a year after the court enters a separation decree, either side may ask for the court to change the decree to a decree of dissolution, thereby converting the case to a divorce.

Legal separations are not cheaper, easier proceedings

Those interested in a legal separation should consider speaking to a family law attorney about this and other options.

However, they should be aware that legal separations are no different from, and no easier than, divorces when it comes to dividing property and establishing custody, visitation and child support orders.

Particularly when couples have a lot of property or are not on the same page with respect to their children, contested litigation is a real possibility.