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What is legal separation?

While not every state recognizes legal separation, Iowa does. This is one of your options if you and your spouse no longer wish to be married. The other options are divorce or dissolution. It is important that you make an informed decision, so learning more about your options can help you to know if legal separation is the best choice for you.

Iowa Legal Aid explains that legal separation is a step to take before filing for divorce. It offers you the chance to work out the situation of living apart before you head to court and before drawing up your divorce agreement. You can see how you will work out support of the children, visitation issues, housing and other similar details. It can give you insight into what to expect when you actually file for divorce.

You do not have to legally separate. You can simply live apart, separate your banking and other financial accounts and create agreements about the children all on your own without court involvement. However, if you want to have formal agreements put in place, you can file for a legal separation. You just file a petition with the court, and the court can then award support and manage other details for you. Do note it can take time to get on the court's schedule. 

Do keep in mind a separation will not legally end your marriage. You will eventually have to file for a divorce or a dissolution. This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended as legal advice. 

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