Legal Separation

Legal separation is a term generally referring to a division of married parties’ property and debt. In the most basic form a legal separation is the same thing as a divorce just without terminating the marriage. The first issue to address regarding legal separation is why anyone might consider such an option. Those who want a legal separation usually want it because of religious reasons (ie: they don’t want a divorce) or because of financial reasons. What we mean by financial reasons is that under most insurance plans, if the parties are not divorced then the other spouse can remain on the insurance of the other spouse.

While some of these rules are changing in recent times this still provides the biggest financial incentive for both parties to ensure adequate insurance coverage. Otherwise, a legal separation accomplishes everything a divorce will accomplish. It will divide the community property. It will divide the community debts. It will confirm the separate property of the parties. It will confirm the separate debts of the parties. It will allow the court to determine custody, time sharing and child support as well.

Again, there really is no difference between a separation and divorce except that the marriage remains in tact. The other scenario where a legal separation may be relevant is when people consider the possibility of reconciling. Sometimes, space is needed. The space that can come from a division of assets and debts. This may serve as a cooling off time period that allows time for each party to assess their future and their future needs.

If you are considering a legal separation take the time to discuss your plans, goals and needs with a qualified attorney who can help you maneuver the minefield of a separation v. a divorce. Learn and know your rights. Contact the attorneys at the Justice Legal Group to get the answers you need. You can contact us throughout New Mexico at 505-880-8737 or email us at

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