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What is legal separation?

“Legal separation” is when the parties stay married, but they may ask the court to decide issues common to a divorce, such as child custody and visitation matters, child support, living arrangements, and property division or separate maintenance.
A petition for legal separation is filed in the same manner as a petition for divorce. See Iowa Code § 598.28. Legal separations can be as complicated as if the parties were seeking a divorce. If you do not know whether a legal separation is appropriate, or if you do not understand the process, you should talk to an attorney.
“Separate maintenance,” is similar to alimony or spousal support except the parties are still married. It is when a court orders that financial support be paid by one spouse of the marriage to the other spouse.

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