Legal Separation

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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

  • Virginia Supreme Court Rules on Same-Sex Couples
    It has been common and expected that when a woman is receiving alimony payments from her ex-husband, he will no longer have to pay spousal support when she becomes engaged to another man. However, when that same woman instead becomes engaged to another woman, courts have ruled that the man must continue his spousal support payments in Virginia; that is, until a recent decision reversed this ruling.
  • How Is Child Support Calculated in Florida?
    Child support, either as a result of divorce or a dispute between unmarried parents, is a potentially complicated situation from the emotional, financial and family point of view. The parents and parties involved (including your Florida divorce or family attorney), must not lose sight that the goal of child support is not to resolve conflicts between the parents but to ensure the welfare of the children.
  • Bird's Nest Arrangements Offer Big Benefits
    As families evolve and adjust to changing times, the structure of shared child custody agreements has also adapted.
  • Victims Seek to Change Laws in Maryland
    Domestic violence has long been a serious problem in the state of Maryland and throughout the United States. One Maryland delegate is a survivor and believes, along with scores of other victims, that lives are being destroyed each day because the word “abuse” as defined by law is not definitive or strong enough.
  • Custody and Assisted Reproduction
    Assisted reproduction has been in the spotlight lately due to the increasing number of LGBT families conceiving children. Inevitably, some of these couples separate, and the law is grappling with how to handle issues of child custody.
  • Potential Changes to Maryland Divorce Law
    The state of Maryland is moving toward a change in their divorce legislation.
  • Domestic Violence Allegations Affect Custody Agreements
    Courts take allegations of domestic violence seriously – no matter the age of the accuser or the fame of the accused.
  • Tesla Founder Faces Financial Setback In Divorce
    On March 31, 2016,k Tesla unveiled its as-yet unreleased Model 3. In just 24 hours, the pioneering automaker had raised eight billion dollars in initial $1,000 deposits according to reports.
  • High-Profile Custody Dispute
    Child custody is often one of the most hotly contested aspects of any divorce, but contrary to common beliefs even teenaged children can become caught in the crossfire.
  • Privacy in High Profile Divorce Cases
    Often, the news of celebrity couples splitting are accompanied by rumors of infidelity or a history of an explosive relationship. However, the true cause of many stars’ divorce may never be known due to the way that famous people often protect their privacy.



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