Legal Separation in Arizona

What You Need to Know About Legal Separation in Phoenix & Scottsdale, AZ

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What is Legal Separation?

A legal separation is a Court order that allows spouses to remain married but not be legally bound to each other financially; the order will divide the parties’ assets and debts and allow each party to keep whatever asset and debts they acquire after the legal separation. It is basically the process of a divorce through the division of assets and debts but staying married at the end of it.

Legal Separation VS Divorce

Why People Choose Legal Separation

What To Know About Legal Separation

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Current Updates Regarding Coronavirus and Divorce and Custody in Arizona

Best Law Firm has seen new challenges while assisting families with divorce and child custody during the pandemic. Courts are open and law firms have been deemed essential services, so we are also open and exercising all safety precautions. If you have any questions or would like to schedule an attorney consultation by video or phone, please call us at 480-219-2433.

Differences Between Legal And Separation And Divorce

Divides assets and debts acquired during marriage.

Legal Separation = Yes

Divorce = Yes


Ends “marital community”.

Legal Separation = Yes

Divorce = Yes


Determines spousal maintenance.

Legal Separation = Yes

Divorce = Yes


Determines child custody.

Legal Separation = Yes

Divorce = Yes


Determines child support.

Legal Separation = Yes

Divorce = Yes


Tax filing status after.

Legal Separation = Single or Head of Household

Divorce = Single or Head of Household


File Taxes Jointly.

Legal Separation = No

Divorce = No


Spouse can accumulate social security benefits from other spouse.

Legal Separation = Yes

Divorce = No


Spouse can remain on other spouse’s health insurance.

Legal Separation = Yes

Divorce = No


Both parties must agree.

Legal Separation = Yes

Divorce = No


Can remarry.

Legal Separation = No

Divorce = Yes


Frequently Asked Questions About Legal Seperation

What is legal separation?

A legal separation is the Court process by which spouses can choose to remain married but may choose to end their community property relationship, divide their assets and debts, and determine spousal maintenance, child custody, and child support.

If my spouse moves out, are we legally separated?

No. Legal separation refers to going to Court to actually be declared legally separated. The spouses merely moving into different homes is not a legal separation.

My spouse and I separated five years ago and have lived apart ever since. We do not do a legal separation or a divorce. Am I financially responsible for my spouse’s debts?

Legally, yes. For example, if your spouse ran up a large credit card debt and cannot afford to pay the bill, the credit card company could (and most likely will) come after you.

Can we be legally separated without filing in the Court?

No. Legal separation requires a Petition for Legal Separation be filed with the Court, and for the Court to issue a Decree of Legal Separation.

Is a legal separation cheaper than a divorce?

Not really. The same issues that need to be decided in a divorce need to be decided in a legal separation. The process of litigation for divorce and legal separation is pretty much identical.

Once we are legally separated, can we still file taxes as married?

No. Once you are legally separated, you cannot file taxes as married. This applies to both the status for married filing jointly and married filing separately.

If I am legally separated but cannot file as married, what tax status can I claim?

Likely, you will be filing as single. You may qualify to file as head of household if you have a qualifying dependent living with you six months out of the year and you are primarily responsible for your living expenses. If you are considering file as a head of household, we recommend speaking with a tax accountant or tax attorney to see if you qualify.

Can I terminate the marital community without filing for divorce or legal separation?

Yes, this can be taken care of in a prenuptial agreement or post-nuptial agreement.

On what date does the marital community terminate?

As with a divorce, the marital community terminates on the date the Petitioner (the spouse who filed) serves the Petition for Legal Separation on the other spouse so long as the petition results in a divorce, legal separation, or annulment.

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Our experienced team at Best Law Firm has helped thousands of clients. See what some of them have to say about working with us.

Divorce Mediation

“Ms. Best resolved my spousal maintenance issue with my husband and his attorney in two hours. She accomplished what the lawyers could not do in 9 months of litigation. I am very grateful for her help.”

Divorce With Children

“We hired this law firm to represent our son in trying to get joint custody. They did a fabulous job keeping us informed as to their plan each week.  I have to say I do not think my son would be enjoying his daughter right now with his 50/50 custody if it was not for this law firm.”

Custody And Father's Rights

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Divorce Mediation

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Family Law

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Family Law

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Divorce With Children

Thank you for the excellence in your craft and communication each and every step of the way, for the care, for helping me to be brave and strong in holding someone accountable for their wrongdoings, for helping my sons and me to receive the best possible scenario out of the worst situation of my life.

Family Law

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