If you initially filed for a legal separation in court, you may now desire to convert your case into one for divorce. Although the procedures for converting a legal separation into a divorce case differ slightly from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, the process across the United States is fundamentally the same.
Contact your spouse and determine whether he or she agrees with your desire to convert your case from one for legal separation to one for divorce. If your spouse concurs with your plan, the judge is far more likely to grant your request.
Write a motion requesting that the court convert your case from legal separation into a divorce.
File the motion with the clerk of the court. The clerk will provide you with the date and time for a hearing on the motion.
Send or deliver a copy of the motion, along with notice of the hearing, to your spouse.
Appear at the hearing and present your reasons to the judge for converting the case into one for divorce. Make sure you advise the judge as to whether your spouse agrees with the proposal. Assuming the judge grants the request, the case converts to one for divorce. If the judge denies the motion, you need to file a new case for divorce.
Draft what is known as an amended petition in your case. The document is called an amended petition because there is a petition for separation on file. In this instance, the document is titled "amended petition for divorce" or something to that effect.
File the amended petition for divorce with the clerk of the court.
Deliver a copy of the amended petition for divorce to your spouse.
- Although you can seek a conversion of a case from legal separation into a divorce on your own, you likely are best served engaging qualified legal representation. Your interests in a divorce case are best protected and advanced through representation from an experienced divorce or family law attorney.
- Cornell Law School, Divorce: Overview
- "Essential Guide to Divorce"; Emily Doskow; 2008
- "The Divorce Organizer & Planner"; Brette Sember; 2004