Common Marriage Separation Questions

Both parties may have marriage separation questions when a marriage is ending. While marriage separation is not as final as divorce according to the law, it often requires similar decisions concerning property, financial support and child custody. When a couple separates legally, they can later decide to file for divorce. There are some common questions that arise when couples are facing marriage separation:

What makes a separation legal?
Simply residing in different places and living separate lives does not constitute a legal separation. Even if you are going through the divorce process, that is not considered a legal separation. A legal separation can happen only when papers have been filed with the court.

Is legal separation recognized in all states?
Legal separation is not recognized in all states; however, those states that don't recognize it as such still have separation laws and provisions that protect the rights of both parties. For example, temporary orders cover financial and custody issues in a similar manner.

What kinds of rights come with a legal separation?
A legal separation allows both parties to establish rights to settling property, custody arrangements for children and setting spousal support if it is granted by the court.

How do both parties move from separated to divorced?
Separated is still technically legally married, so a separate divorce petition will need to be filed with the courts. When the court grants the divorce, then the parties are legally no longer married.

What happens with a legal separation if the couple reconciles?
When a couple reconciles, the paperwork is withdrawn. Because the couple is still legally married, all the rights and responsibilities of that status are still in place.

How is support structured when the couple separates?
The court will order temporary support when a couple separates, which will cover child custody, visitation, financial support and even residency in the marital home. Temporary support is available when the parties separate, even if the parties have not yet filed for divorce.

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