Legal Separation

U.S. Divorce Law Center

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

  • Divorce as a Financial Transaction
    Divorce proceedings are full of various different transactions, and many persons take the events emotionally and with serious intent. However, when the relationship has ended, and everything else remains the same, a divorce may become nothing more than a financial transaction.
  • Financial Considerations for Divorce
    Anyone filing for a divorce should consider his or her financial situation. More couples are deciding to divorce at a late age instead of thinking about retirement. This makes the financial analysis more difficult, especially for women who have been out of the labor force.
  • Is Adultery a Crime in Texas?
    In Texas adultery is a ground for divorce in Texas. Texas laws take adultery into account when it comes to the dissolution of the marriage and can call for punitive damages for unfaithful behavior. Learn in Today's blog we examine whether Adultery is also a crime in Texas and whether other states treat it as a crime.
  • How to Prove Financial Disclosures are False
    There are complications that arise during divorce proceedings that often cause one of the spouses difficulty in obtaining the much-needed monetary assistance that he or she should be owed. This comes in disclosures of financial data.
  • What is a Qualified Domestic Relations Order and When do I Need One?
    During divorce, a couple may have to make decisions regarding retirement accounts and how to divide them. Qualified domestic relations orders deal with these accounts and can help the parties avoid unnecessary taxes or penalties.
  • Signs that Your Spouse May Be Hiding Property and Assets
    Some spouses may be tempted to hide assets during a divorce, so it is important for people to be aware of the warning signs.
  • Why Do I Need a QDRO in a Divorce?
    Protecting retirement assets from unnecessary loss during a divorce may require the use of a Qualified Domestic Relations Order.
  • Can Separate Property Morph into Community Property?
    When a couple is divorcing, they may disagree as to which property is separate and not subject to division as part of the divorce process and which property is community property and subject to division. Understanding the basic principles behind separate and community property as well as when separate property can become community property can make the parties more informed during this process.
  • Options Regarding Spousal Support
    In some marriages, the financial obligation to a spouse outlives the marriage. One spouse may be better off financially than the other spouse or one may have a higher earning capacity than another. In these cases, the court may try to create more equality between the parties by ordering spousal support, or alimony so that the disparity between their relative financial status is lesser.
  • Dividing Retirement Benefits during a Divorce
    In many cases, a personís retirement account is the most valuable asset that he or she has, even more valuable than a marital home. This makes this area ripe for argument between spouses. It is important when going through the process of divorce to make informed decisions. Many decisions can have a significant financial impact on the lives of the couple involved.

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