If you have been separated for an extended period of time, you may wonder what your rights are at this juncture. You may wonder whether you can now proceed with a divorce after being separated for 10 years.
One type of separation is informal. An informal separation, there is no court order governing the terms and conditions of the separation. At best, there is a written agreement between you and your spouse.
If you have been involved in an informal separation, there is nothing at all the prohibits you from seeking a divorce. You need to file the appropriate paperwork to commence divorce proceedings. You are best served retaining the services of a skilled, experienced divorce attorney to assist you in pursuing a divorce case following an extended period of separation.
If you have had a legal separation for a decade, you can also pursue a divorce case. There are two possible options available to you, depending on the laws in your state.
In some states, you can convert your existing legal separation case into a divorce proceeding. That requires the filing of specific documents with the court in order to undertake the conversion of the case from a legal separation to one for divorce.
In other states, you cannot simply convert an existing legal separation case into a divorce proceeding. Rather, you need to file a divorce case. As is the case with an informal separation, you are best served retaining legal representation for undertaking a divorce after a term of legal separation.
Legal Separation with a Limited Term
A few states have legal separation laws that include a specific term during which a legal separation order remains in place. When the term expires, the parties to a legal separation must then either proceed with a divorce case, or the legal separation case itself comes to a conclusion. An example of the timeframe associated with this type of legal separation is two years.
If you have had a legal separation in place for a decade, the only step left may be terminating the marriage itself. Odds are other issues related to your marriage likely were dealt with earlier during the legal separation proceedings. Oftentimes, this will make a subsequent divorce case easier to conclude.
With that said, you nevertheless must have the correct paperwork in order to proceed with a divorce following an extended term legally separated. Your best alternative is to seek legal representation to ensure that you do have the proper paperwork necessary to properly initiate and then pursue a final divorce case.
Retain a Divorce Attorney
No matter the circumstances leading up to a divorce case, you best protect your rights and interests by retaining the services of an experienced divorce lawyer. The first step in obtaining representation from a divorce attorney is scheduling an initial consultation.
During an initial consultation, a divorce attorney will evaluate your case. He or she will present your alternatives when it comes to seeking a divorce after a decade of being separated. You will also be able to obtain answers to questions you have about your situation. As a general rule, there is no fee charged for an initial consultation with a divorce lawyer.