How do I get a legal separation? Where do I come to file a legal separation?

Most people find that the best way to get a legal separation is to hire an attorney. However, you may file a legal separation as a self-represented party. A legal separation is started when a legal pleading called "complaint for legal separation" is filed with the Clerk of Courts Office, along with "instructions for service" and payment of the filing fee. A hearing date is scheduled after the defendant has been served properly with all the legal pleadings filed. A Final Decree of Legal Separation is not granted until the plaintiff (the person who files the complaint) has attended all of the hearings required by the court, and prepared all the necessary papers. At a minimum the person asking for the legal separation will have to appear at a hearing and give testimony under oath or affirmation, bring a witness who will also testify, and prepare and bring all the necessary paperwork to complete the case.

For information regarding the Eleven Grounds for filing a divorce, view the Citizen's Guide (PDF). To determine what documents need to be filed with your divorce complaint, see what Forms Are Required.

If you do not have an attorney, you may submit your documents to the Compliance Office for review.

Show All Answers

1. What types of cases are handled by the Domestic Relations Court?
2. Where is the court?
3. How can I find out my hearing date?
4. How much does it cost to file for a divorce?
5. How do I check on paperwork that I have submitted?
6. Who do I contact for help in choosing an attorney?
7. I do not have money for a lawyer. Can the Court appoint a lawyer for me?
8. May I represent myself?
9. How do I get a divorce? Where do I come to file a divorce?
10. How to check on the status of paperwork filed?
11. How can I file an annulment?
12. I can't come to court on this date. Can I get a new date?
13. What can I do if I do not agree with the Judge's or Magistrate's Decision?
14. How to establish a child support order? How to modify a child support order?
15. How can I get a transcript of a hearing?
16. What is the mandatory parenting class, and how do I sign up for it?
17. Can I settle my case without going to court?
18. When one party does not follow the court order, how can I enforce my child support and health care order?
19. What do I have to do if I change employment?
20. I am not receiving my child support check. Who do I call to find out the status of these payments?
21. If we have agreed that we do not want the Child Support Enforcement Agency to handle our child support. Can we agree that the payments be made directly between the two of us?
22. My ex-spouse is not letting me see the children. Do I have to continue to pay child support?
23. How can I receive temporary child support and/or spousal support?
24. How can I get a Civil Protection Order? Does it cost anything?
25. The other parent is withholding the child?
26. How to modify a parenting time schedule?
27. How do I change custody?
28. How do I get a legal separation? Where do I come to file a legal separation?
29. I can't come to court on this date, how do I get a new date?
30. How do I establish a child support order?
31. How can I receive an interim order for attorney fees?
32. How do I modify an existing child support order in Montgomery County?
33. How to modify a parenting time schedule?
34. How to change custody?