Misty D. Parks Attorney at Law            
P.O. Box 1720 Spring Hill, TN 37174   Initial Consultation Free (615) 255~9155
                        

Legal Separation

Legal Separation Lawyer Columbia, TN | Franklin, Tennessee Legal Separation Attorney

Legal Separation v. Divorce under Tennessee Law

In today's economy and the financial crisis this country has experienced has left many families better suited for a legal separation, for at least some period, instead or prior to a divorce in Tennessee.  Legal Separation in Tennessee has been far less common than it once was.  With healthcare increasingly becoming unattainable for many families, a legal separation rather than a divorce, can leave an otherwise uninsurable husband or wife, legally separated but still able to remain covered by the other spouse's health insurance  policy. 

Legal Separation Process in Tennessee

A legal separation, much like a divorce, is begun by filing a Complaint for Legal Separation in the Chancery or Circuit Court of the county in which the parties have resided as a married couple for the past six (6) months.  Just like with a divorce, there is a filing fee, which is payable to  the Court Clerk at the time of filing.  The other spouse must then be served a copy of the Complaint for Legal Separation, and they then have thirty (30) days to file an Answer to the Complaint, and they may even file a Counter-Complaint seeking a Divorce.  The lawyers for Husband and Wife may then conduct discovery, if necessary, consisting of depositions, written interrogatories (questions that are answered in writing under oath), and written requests for the production of certain documents (bank statements, loan balances, credit card balances, etc.).  It is necessary as part of the Legal Separation to divide assets and allocate debts in addition to providing for a written parenting plan regarding custody, visitation and child support of any minor children the parties may have.  This may be accomplished by an agreement between the parties that may be reached through the negotiations of their respective attorneys or at mediation and will be reduced to writing in a document known as a Legal Separation Agreement.  As part of a Legal Separation, the parties may specify a time certain when the parties will enter a Divorce and convert the Legal Separation to an Absolute Divorce. 

Should I get a legal separation instead of a divorce?

   Advantages of a Legal Separation:
  • Health Insurance - Upon the entry of a Divorce, a Husband or Wife carrying a health insurance policy covering their spouse, can no longer carry the ex-spouse and that spouse must obtain a policy through COBRA, if available.  A COBRA policy can be quite expensive and can only be carried for a certain period of time.  With a legal separation, the parties remain legally married and can therefore remain on a family health insurance policy through their spouse.  This can be especially beneficial to both parties if one spouse has health issues, and the healthy spouse can avoid paying what would be a much larger alimony payment by continuing to carry the health insurance policy and thereby save the other spouse from trying to pay the costs of obtaining their own policy.
  • Religious Beliefs - Certain religions prohibit divorce or do not recognize a divorce as severing the bonds of marriage.  In these instances, a person may feel that they have no options or no way out of a marriage that may have issues of alcohol or substance abuse, domestic violence, verbal or emotional abuse, or other destructive behaviors.    A Husband or Wife in this situation may obtain a legal separation, which allows both spouses the freedom to live in a peaceful and stable environment without conflicting with their religious beliefs.

Disadvantages of a Legal Separation:

  • You are NOT Divorced and are still married - At the conclusion of a legal separation the parties are not divorced and are still considered married under the law and are expected to consider themselves married.  Entering into a relationship with another person can give rise to grounds for divorce as either Inappropriate Marital Conduct or Adultery.
  • Civil Liability for the Negligence of your spouse may possibly continue during a period of legal separation when the parties have not yet divorced.  Similarly, creditors of your spouse may still be able to bring action against you to collect a debt of your spouse, even though you are already legally separated.
  • Ultimately, in Tennessee the parties having been legally been separated for more than two years gives each of them the ability to bring an action for divorce alleging as grounds the two year  legal separation and may obtain a divorce decree without the consent of the other party

Misty D. Parks, Attorney at Law, located in Spring Hill, TN, is experienced in helping people like yourself decide whether a legal separation is best suited for your situation and obtaining the best outcome for you and your family should you decide a legal separation is best for you.  You may contact Misty D. Parks for a Free Initial Consultation at (615) 255-9155 or you may Click Here to leave a message through this website, which Ms. Parks will return promptly, to discuss the details of your situation.


Serving Clients in the Middle Tennessee Area including:  Franklin, TN; Brentwood, TN; Fairview, TN; Williamson County, TN; Maury County, TN; Columbia, TN; Spring Hill, TN; Mt. Pleasant, TN; Marshall County, TN; Lewisburg, TN; Lawrence County, TN; Lawrenceburg, TN; Pulaski, TN; Giles County, TN; Nashville, TN; Davidson County, TN; Rutherford County, TN; Murfreesboro, TN; Smyrna, TN; Montgomery County, TN; Clarksville, TN; Madison, TN; Wilson County, TN; Lebanon, TN; Bedford County, TN; Shelbyville, TN.

By Misty D. Parks