What is a Legal Separation in New Hampshire?
When a couple is considering divorce, they sometimes choose to legally separate instead. A legal separation is basically the same as a divorce only the two parties are not free to re-marry. There are many reasons why a couple would choose legal separation over divorce. Under New Hampshire's revised statute 458:26.I:
In any case in which a divorce might be decreed, the superior court, on petition of either party, may decree a legal separation of the parties, which separation shall have in all respects the effect of a divorce, except that the parties shall not thereby be made free to marry any third person and except as hereinafter provided.
A couple can file for legal separation in New Hampshire if:
- Both spouses live in New Hampshire
- The spouse initiating the separation has lived in New Hampshire for at least one year
- The spouse initiating the separation lives in New Hampshire and their partner can be served in New Hampshire
Spouses who have religious beliefs that are against divorce often choose to legally separate instead. Couples who hope to work things out but need some time apart also prefer to legally separate. Another common reason for choosing separation over divorce is to keep some of the benefits of marriage such as joint health insurance. When a couple is legally separated one person can still be on the other's health insurance policy. This is not often possible when a couple chooses to divorce.
New Hampshire Legal Separation Procedure
A legal separation is very similar to a divorce. The procedure is the same as one of divorce. According to RSA 458:27, in a legal separation “the court shall have the same power in all matters relating to restraining orders and decrees, allowances, alimony, parental rights and responsibilities” as it does in divorce proceedings. In New Hampshire both parties must be in favor of filing for legal separation instead of divorce. If one spouse files for a legal separation and the other for divorce, the process will be handled as a divorce.
At any time during a legal separation, the parties can choose to resume the marriage and cancel the separation. This is done by simply filing a written declaration with the superior court. When this is done all alimony and parental rights responsibilities will be terminated expect for the separation of assets that was assigned. A couple can choose to stay legally separated for however long they want. They can eventually decide to get back together, file for divorce or can stay legally separated forever in New Hampshire.
Legal Separation Attorney in New Hampshire
If you are considering legal separation or thinking about filing for divorce and would like to know more about legal separation in New Hampshire, call our office right away. An experienced lawyer can help you make the best decision for your family. There are several benefits to choosing legal separation over divorce. A family law legal representative can help you make an informed decision as well as assist you during the separation process. Call Russman Law now to find out more.