Would I be protected financially with a legal separation, or would I need a divorce to be protected?

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Would I be protected financially with a legal separation, or would I need a divorce to be protected?

I am living separate from my husband due to his alcoholism and subsequent abuse. I cannot trust him, and am concerned that he may try to harm me financially. Divorce is only allowed in my religion under certain circumstances. Would a legal separation protect me from him financially, or would I need a divorce to be fully protected?

Asked on December 14, 2010 under Family Law, Oregon

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

 

A legal separation is an alternative to divorce.  It is a legal vehicle employed by people who do not want to divorce for various reasons, including religious (your case).  A separation agreement will settle in writing all of your marital issues, including financial. Thus it will protect you (and your spouse).  In fact, should you later decide to divorce, it will be the official legal document used to settle the marital issues, and will be referenced in your final decree for divorce. 

The legal separation filing process is very similar to a divorce. If you are considering a legal separation, here are some of the laws regarding legal separations in OR:

  • The grounds for legal separation (separation from bed and board) are irreconcilable differences between the spouses which have caused the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage.
  • The spouses may enter a separation agreement to live apart for at least 1 year. 
  • At least 1 of the spouses must be a resident of OR when the action for legal separation is filed.
  • The legal separation may be filed for in a county where either spouse lives.

At this point, you need to sit down directly and consult with a divorce/family law attorney as to all of this.


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