4 Reasons to File for Legal Separation in Kansas

Ending a marriage is never easy, and it can be an emotional and painful process for both parties. One of the advantages of taking some time away from one another in Kansas is that the law recognizes the concept of legal separation and establishes a legal framework for how it’s done.

In Kansas, the courts view a legal separation as an alternative to divorce, a situation that allows both spouses to remain married but live apart — and to do it under a court decree. For some couples, the strains that brought their marriage to the tipping point of a divorce can become so difficult that they agree to a separation first. But in Kansas, married couples who separate are not automatically considered legally separated under the eyes of the law. That’s because there are some legal steps to take first.

Are there logical reasons why a couple should consider filing for a legal separation? It’s true that some couples might simply move out and ignore the legal issues — for them, getting out of what they consider to be a bad or unhealthy situation is what’s most important. On the other hand, legal separation can produce several benefits. Let’s take a closer look at how it can work in your favor. 

What is a Legal Separation Agreement in Kansas?

It’s important to understand that Kansas law addresses legal separation that provides for the same type of property division and financial arrangements that divorce offers to spouses.

Legal separation requires couples to submit a formal filing of separation. From the court’s perspective, this gives spouses a certain amount of distance needed to see if they can work through their problems. During separation, the courts require an equitable division of assets and debt — a decision that can be made by the couple if they can agree on the issues. If not, the judge has final authority to make those determinations. 

The courts use what’s called a separate maintenance agreement as a guide. It has standards for issues like:

  • A division of both assets and debts
  • Child support and custody issues
  • A final agreement that both spouses are satisfied with

A separation agreement thus becomes a legally binding contract signed by spouses and filed with a Kansas family law court, and how complex or detailed it is will depend on the couple, which is why in many cases, the spouses consult an attorney before trying to prepare their own agreement.

Why Should You File for Legal Separation in Kansas?

When a married couple decides to stop living together, they immediately face huge financial implications. One of them is suddenly forced to take on the cost of living somewhere else, although they’re still legally married. Legal separation offers some advantages here.

1. Equitable Distribution

Under separation, the court assists in establishing an equitable distribution of the married couples’ income. That helps to reduce the amount of liability you have for any new debts accumulated during the legal separation. Since you’re still legally married, any debt that either spouse incurs is joint debt.

Separation also allows either spouse to show that any assets purchased after separation are their  own personal assets and not marital property. The court can eliminate these assets during the distribution process.

2. Health Insurance Coverage 

Legal separation covers a “qualifying life event.” Let’s say one spouse has you both covered under a family health insurance plan while you’re married, and you’re worried that under a separation, you might lose access to that coverage. A legal separation will recognize that as a qualifying life event, giving you more time to find new coverage if needed.

3. Documentation for a Possible Divorce

If separation only reinforces your view that the marriage is definitely over, a separation agreement filed with the courts addresses key issues that will come up during your divorce. That can include:

  • Division of property and debts,
  • Child custody and child support,
  • Spousal support,
  • And tax issues​

A valid separation agreement can be incorporated into your divorce decree and helps establish a legal framework in advance. That can reduce the number of legal issues that still need to be ironed out during a divorce. It’s also possible that at this point, your divorce will be less contentious and adversarial because you’ve already established these issues.

4. A Chance for a New Beginning

By entering into a legal separation, one spouse can begin to pursue a new relationship without worrying that the court might view this as adultery or abandonment. Doing so could have a positive impact on how much support you’re ordered to pay.

Considering Legal Separation? Connect with Joseph T. Welsh

If you’re not sure what the courts require when entering into a legal separation or find it challenging to reach an agreement with an estranged spouse, consider the benefits of getting the guidance of an experienced legal separation attorney in Kansas. 

When these situations occur, you need a devoted advocate to litigate for you. Joseph T. Welsh, Attorney at Law is a reputable legal separation lawyer in the state of Kansas with experience helping countless families navigate through these difficult times. His extensive expertise mediating in and out of the courtroom will guide you in making these delicate, emotionally involved decisions.

Contact the Joseph T. Welsh Law Firm today at (620) 510-5030 for a free consultation to evaluate your current separation and learn about the next steps to get the outcome you want.