Are there procedures one must follow, in the Church, when getting a legal separation? Does the legal separation have to be approved before it finalizes?
Civil legal seperation is required before any Church procedings regarding an annulment can proceed.
In other words, the Church doesn’t deal with divorce. That’s strictly in the realm of the individuals. If, however, a person wants to seek to have his marriage declared null by the Church, the Church will not begin procedures for that until a civil divorce has been finalized.
Does that help?
According to Canon Law, the local Ordinary (Bishop) must give permission to approach the civil courts for a legal separation.
Chapter II Cases Concerning the Separation of Spouses of Spouses.
Can. 1692 – § 1. Unless lawfully provided otherwise in particular places, the personal separation of baptized spouses can be decided by a decree of the diocesan Bishop or by the judgment of a judge in accordance with the following canons.
§ 2. Where the ecclesiastical decision does not provide civil effects, or if it is foreseen that there will be a civil judgment not contrary to the divine law, the Bishop of the diocese in which the spouses are living can, in the light of their particular circumstances, give them permission to approach the civil courts.
§ 3. If the case is also concerned with the merely civil effects of marriage, the judge is to endeavor, without prejudice to the provision of § 2, to have the case brought before the civil court from the very beginning.
Personally, I doubt that many couples follow this provision of canon law. However, if a couple did not do this and later one party attempted to get a declaration of nullity, there could be a problem is the process was contested.
a legal separation may be permissible, or even divorce, if required to secure property rights, provide for care of the children, provide safety in an abuse situation etc. It has no effect on the status of the marriage in the eyes of the Church. The couple is married, and neither party is free to remarry, unless and until the circumstances surrounding the marriage at its inception are investigated and the original contract is found to be invalid or null. In this country, a legal separation is not a divorce, admits the possibility of reconciliation, which must be exhausted before the Church even considers an investigation into validity of the marriage. for civil law matters, consult a civil attorney.
Church deals with that after civil divorce finalization and declared the marriage as null.
Legal separation from court is required before applying for divorce from the church and the criteria for getting divorced from court and church is totally different, For knowing legal side of divorce visit Springer Law Firm