Divorce requires a judgment of divorce from a court of competent jurisdiction.

It is often possible to obtain an uncontested Judgment of Divorce without actually appearing in person before the court. In such cases, the specific terms of divorce are set forth in an agreement signed by the parties and then incorporated into the court’s Judgment of Divorce. If the parties cannot agree upon specific terms of settlement, the case is placed upon the contested calendar for a trial. In such cases, the unresolved issues are determined by a judge and not a jury. The Judgment of Divorce will set forth the legal grounds for the divorce and the rights and obligations of the parties to one another regarding equitable distribution of assets and debts; maintenance, or spousal support; custody and visitation of any minor child of the parties; and child support.

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Legal separation requires either a properly signed separation agreement or a judgment of separation from a court of competent jurisdiction.

A legal separation is more than a physical separation. Parties are not required to go to court to be legally separated so long as they properly sign a valid agreement of separation. Legally separated parties are free to live separate and apart and are free of any and all financial rights and obligations to each other, except as may be set forth in their separation agreement or decree. A judgment of separation may be revoked if both parties request a revocation from the court and produce evidence of reconciliation. Legally separated parties may not marry another. Legally separated parties may remain covered under a spouse’s policy of medical insurance. Unless there is a judgment of separation or a valid waiver of spousal right of election to inherit from a deceased spouse in an agreement of separation, a legally separated spouse may still exercise a spousal right of election against the estate of a deceased spouse.

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It is important to understand that matrimonial law is state specific.

Each state has laws unique and distinct from the laws of the other states (although often there are similarities between the laws of different states).

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I encourage you to contact me for further information.

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