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What does legal separation entail?

Some couples in Louisiana opt for a legal separation rather than divorce. Legal separation is an option in our state for married couples who break up.

When you opt for legal separation rather than divorce, however, it's essential to understand exactly what that means. A couple who is legally separated is still married in the eyes of the law. Neither person can remarry while they are still legally separated.

Since a legally separated couple is still considered to be married, both spouses retain the legal rights and benefits that married couples enjoy. They also have the right to make financial and medical decisions for each other if one of them becomes incapacitated and unable to make those decisions for him or herself.

Legally separated couples can retain assets that they own jointly such as property and bank accounts. Unless a court orders otherwise, they both have the legal rights to property that any spouse would have if one of them passed away. Along with continued joint ownership of assets comes continued responsibility for the other's debt.

A legal separation requires a court order that defines some things that are often part of a divorce agreement such as child custody and child support terms.

If you and your spouse are considering legal separation rather than divorce, whether for religious reasons, financial reasons or because you just aren't ready to take the step of divorcing, it's essential that you seek the guidance of an experienced Louisiana family law attorney. He or she can help ensure that your interests are protected, whether you eventually reunite, get divorced or remain in that status.

Source: Seeking Alpha, "What Is The Difference Between Legal Separation And Divorce?," Russ Thornton, Sep. 28, 2017

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