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

  • How Can I Get Divorced in One State When My Spouse Lives in Another State?
    Getting a divorce becomes more complicated when spouses no longer live in the same state. In some situations, a spouse has moved to another state right after the couple recently separated. In other cases, the spouses have continued separate lives in different states for several years. Even if spouses live in different states, they can still get divorced.
  • The Divorce Process: Decide or Have the Decision Made for You
    Decide or have the decision made for you. This phrase applies to pretty much everything in the area of family law. You canít make any decisions for anyone else, but you can decide how youíre going to approach these challenges. If you donít decide how youíre going to approach these difficulties, the decision will be made for you.
  • Surviving During the Holidays in a Divorce or Legal Separation
    In Illinois, there are parents with physical custody of the children, often referred to as residential custody, and there are non-residential custodial parents with visitation rights. In any divorce in which the parties are parents, often, divorce lawyers will tell you that the primary issue is often the division of visitation time with the kids. The most sought after parenting time is during the holidays when families are expected to be together and the kids are not in school.
  • Divorce in Texas
    When you are considering a divorce, much less going through the process, it can be the absolute most difficult time in your life. That is why it is so important to know what your options are and to come up with a plan based on the advice of an experienced attorney.
  • Business Valuation in Connecticut Divorce
    When a previously married couple files for divorce, their property must be equitably distributed between the former spouses. Usually, the courts will follow what is known as an equitable distribution model to ensure fairness to both parties.
  • New Illinois Maintenance Law
    In every Illinois divorce, the family law court decides whether one spouse must pay maintenance, commonly referred to as spousal support, to the other side.
  • How to Tell if You Are Ready for a Divorce
    Issues to review when contemplating a dissolution of marriage.
  • 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.

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