Legal Separation

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Legal Separation Laws in the U.S. Copyright

Legal Separation

A legal separation and a physical separation are not the same thing. In a physical separation, although the couple lives separately, there is no formal legal agreement.

A legal separation allows a husband and wife to live separately and formalize the arrangement by a court order or a written agreement. The arrangement addresses spousal support, and child custody, visitation and support, when relevant.

It is not equivalent to a divorce or dissolution and recognizes the possibility that the couple may reunite. It does not terminate a marriage, and so, does not allow the parties to remarry.

It is not necessary to be legally separated before obtaining a divorce. Although, most states have provisions for legally separated couples to commute their separation agreement to a divorce action, should they decide to do so.

Not all states recognize legal separations.

Legal Separation Laws by State

Laws governing Legal Separation vary from state to state and some states do not recognize it. The following links provide general overviews of individual states' legal separation laws, where applicable.

Legal Separation Law Articles

  • Steps of Protective Divorce Preparation
    In today’s world, it is just as likely that a marriage will come to an end due to divorce just as much as it is for the couple to stay together. Marriages come to an end for many reasons, including adultery, problems communicating, control issues or many other reasons.
  • Determining the Best Interests of the Child
    In every one of the fifty states, judges use a “best interest of the child” standard in deciding child custody cases. Some have criticized the standard because, to some extent, it requires judges to rely on their own subjective beliefs about what is best for the children.
  • Top Five Ways a Divorce Lawyer Can Help You
    When divorcing, you hire a divorce attorney to do the things you are unable to do. The first and most important duty an attorney has is to help you navigate the often complex family law court system. Hiring a divorce attorney provides you with the best opportunity to successfully proceed with your case, giving you a much better chance for a positive outcome.
  • Determining Child Support in Colorado
    When divorcing couples have young children, determining child support will be one of the most important aspects of the final divorce agreement. Often, this issue can be hotly contested.
  • Divorcing Someone in the Military
    Military lives are different in many ways. Someone who is part of the military can be divorced in our state courts just like everyone else. However, as we all know, there are some differences in military life that could make divorce a bit more complicated.
  • Importance of Prenuptial Agreements in High Stakes Divorces
    When a high profile New York real estate mogul and his wife recently announced their divorce, the bitter battle played out in the media, becoming a real life “War of the Roses.” The marriage ended after 57 years, but the fight had just begun.
  • What Are the Odds? Man Wins $80 Million While Going Through a Divorce in Michigan.
    An Oakland County Michigan husband won $80 Million and while the divorce case was pending, the arbitrator issued an interim order to divide the proceeds. But the arbitrator passed away before the divorce was final.
  • Can Divorce Papers Be Served Through Facebook?
    When one spouse files for divorce, proper legal service of divorce papers can be complicated when the address of the other spouse is unknown. Newspaper legal notices are the traditional service alternative in cases where the defendant spouse can't be located. But a new trend is emerging in which courts are permitting legal service on hard-to-find spouses through their potentially much easier-to-find Facebook accounts. Could starting the divorce process now be only a Facebook message away?
  • Palimony in New Jersey after the Latest Challenge
    A July 22, 2016 decision in New Jersey Superior Court, Lee v. Kim (Bergen County FM-02-1745-16), upholds the constitutionality of New Jersey’s 2010 law requiring cohabitation agreements, also known as “palimony” agreements, to be in writing. The case also stands as a good example of exactly why written agreements are necessary.
  • Raising an Olympian when You Are a Divorced Parent: New Jersey Child Support Guidelines
    Kids involved in athletics—as well as some of their parents—might experience a burst of inspiration from the current Summer Olympics. If you are a separated or divorced parent and your child wants to step up training in their sport to reach Olympian levels, you may wonder about your financial responsibilities. Are you required to fund things like advanced training, private coaches, tournaments, and travel costs ? And is your child’s other parent obligated to share these costs?

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