Legal Separation


The State of Alabama recognizes and allows legal separation. A legal separation is a court determination of the rights and responsibilities of a husband and wife arising out of the marital relationship. The statutory authority for the granting of a legal separation is located at § 30-2-40, Code of Alabama (1975). A decree of legal separation does not terminate the marital status of the parties. This situation usually takes place where spouses do not want to divorce for religious or family reasons, but want something in place to protect themselves financially or otherwise. The terms of the legal separation can be modified only if the parties agree by consent or by court order upon proof of a material change in circumstances. The parties can get back together at any time or can file for divorce at any time.

Separation agreements cover just about everything that a divorce agreement would cover, including child custody, child support, temporary control of the home, temporary obligations of bills/debts, and temporary alimony. The grounds for a decree of legal separation are the same as in a divorce. The court will enter a decree of legal separation if all of the following requirements are satisfied: (1) The court determines that the jurisdictional requirements for the dissolution of a marriage have been met. (2) The court determines the marriage is irretrievably broken or there exists a complete incompatibility of temperament or one or both of the parties desires to live separate and apart. (3) To the extent that it has jurisdiction to do so, the court has considered, approved, or provided for child custody, and has entered an order for child support in compliance with Rule 32 of the Alabama Rules of Judicial Administration.

Huntsville Office Location:
303 Williams Avenue SW
Suite 321
Huntsville, AL 35801

Decatur Office Location:
211 Oak Street NE
Decatur, AL 35601