Like with a divorce, either party may file for separation. If both parties file for the separation together, they are Co-Petitioners. However, if only one party files, the filing party is the Petitioner. The non-filing spouse is the Respondent. We work with both Petitioners and Respondents in legal separation cases.
To begin the process, one or both parties must file the Petition in the district court where the spouses reside. If you are not filing together, the Petitioner must serve the Respondent with the Petition.
The court will follow the same steps as with a dissolution of marriage. However, the final ruling does not legally end the marriage. The court rules on issues like distribution of property, spousal maintenance, and child custody, which allows the couples to live separate lives without an official divorce ruling.