Yes, you can get a legal separation instead of or ahead of a Minnesota divorce. However, unlike many other states, our state does not require a separation period before filing for a divorce.
While you can get a legal separation, make sure you understand what is required and what expenses you might incur.
What does legal separation mean?
It is much like a divorce. You and your spouse will go your separate ways but remain legally married. You can live separately and apart from one another just as you would after a divorce.
How does it work?
You must file a petition with your local court to legally separate. Although much of the paperwork involved with a legal separation resembles what you must do when divorcing, it is a different process.
What can you address in a legal separation?
You can address the same issues that you would when seeking a divorce. Examples include:
- Child custody
- Child support
- Property division
- Spousal support
Those seeking a legal separation can also include a parenting time or visitation schedule.
Does it cost anything or take a long time?
The costs of a legal separation are comparable to the expenses involved in a divorce, and in some cases, it might even cost more. Further, it can take just as long to become legally separated as it does to divorce.
What if you end up divorcing after all?
If you and your spouse end up divorcing, you will have to start over again. As you might expect, this means paying more costly fees and waiting for the divorce to be finalized. In other words, legally separating and then getting divorced could double your total costs and wait time.
Unless you want to avoid divorcing because of religious issues or financial matters, it is typically better to opt for divorce instead of separation. In all situations, consider learning more about divorce and family law in our state.