Legal Separation

U.S. Divorce Law Center





Legal Separation Laws in the U.S. Copyright HG.org

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

  • Unlawful Provisions in Premarital Agreements
    it is vital that any attorney drafting a prenuptial agreement know about unlawful provisions. Otherwise, a client may later be unhappy if provisions of a premarital agreement, or an entire premarital agreement, is later deemed to be invalid because of the inclusion of unlawful provisions. In addition to the information provided in this article regarding unlawful provisions, any attorney should be careful that they are complying with the laws in their specific jurisdiction.
  • Parenting Time and the Upcoming Holidays
    The holidays can be stressful - add in the fact that you may be going through a divorce or separation. Here are some helpful hints to guide you through the holidays and parenting time in order to make the holidays pleasant for you and especially your children.
  • Family Limited Partnerships and Divorce: Structuring the Division
    Family Limited Partnerships can present unique challenges in divorce litigation relative to the division of property and debt. It is vital to understand the key components, their structure and various valuation methods in order to effectively represent a client where a Family Limited Partnership is part of divorce proceedings.
  • If Your Spouse Files for Divorce While on Deployment
    Even under the best of circumstances a marriage can be difficult and often times will not work out. Being a service member whose duty at times requires overseas deployment for long periods of time can lend even more strain.
  • Getting Social Media Evidence Admitted In Court
    Knowing the rules of evidence in your particular state is vital to getting social media admitted into evidence. Cross-examination is often a time where you get much of the information admitted. This is accomplished through showing them the information on their page to verify that the data contained on their page is authentic.
  • How Do You Determine Who Owes What Debt?
    Divorce cases are already confusing without trying to figure out how all of the financial obligations are going to be divided between both parties. Many people think that they don’t have to worry about their debts because they can pawn them off on the other party. Just because you can get rid of the spouse, that doesn’t mean your debts are going to disappear as well.
  • We Got Married in One Country, Live in Another Now and Want a Divorce.
    Where do I find a divorce lawyer (where we live now or where we got married)? Many countries, including the United States, allow you to get a divorce there, even if your marriage occurred in another country. Laws can vary drastically between countries, so be sure that you consult with your attorney regarding the steps necessary to get a divorce and whether the divorce will be valid in the country where you are currently residing.
  • Six Financial Dos and Don’ts When It Comes to Divorce
    Nobody said the divorce process was easy—but know life after divorce is possible. During a divorce, you’ll be faced with several important decisions that will ultimately affect your life both short- and long-term. Keeping your financial security in mind will make all the difference.
  • Prenuptial and Postnuptial Agreements
    When people think of weddings, the first thing that comes to mind is love and happiness. However, most marriages end up in divorce, which is why parties need to protect themselves before that step is ever reached. To cover both your finances and other types of properties, it’s crucial to look into hiring a family lawyer to draft up some kind of agreement. Typically, there are two contracts used when dealing with marriages and they are prenuptial and postnuptial agreements.
  • Are Disparaging Social Media Remarks by an Ex Protected by the First Amendment?
    In 2010, Steve Nash, a basketball player for the Los Angeles Lakers, filed for dissolution of his marriage to Alejandra Nash. Nash v. Nash, 307 P.3d 40 (Az. Ct. App. 2013). The parties were able to the resolve custody and parenting time with their two young children through a joint agreement, but the matter went to trial on the issue of child support. On the day the trial court issued its decree, Mrs. Nash “tweeted” several disparaging remarks pertaining to Mr. Nash.

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