Legal Separation in Kentucky

The author explains the difference between divorce and legal separation in KY.

Legal separation in Kentucky can be a method of dealing with a troubled marriage when you are uncertain you want to file for divorce. Many couples use legal separation in Kentucky as a “cooling off” period to see if they are better off living apart from a spouse or if the marriage can be fixed. If you are considering divorce, you should first discuss your case with a Campbell County divorce attorney to see if separation is a better option.

The Difference between Divorce and Legal Separation in Kentucky

A divorce is final: your marriage legally ended by a judge. A legal separation can be temporary while you work out your marital issues, or permanent if you end up filing for divorce. When you file for divorce in Kentucky, you are free to marry again, while legal separation still considers you married to your spouse.

During a separation in Kentucky, the court may issue orders regarding your property, assets, debts, and children. Child custody will be determined similarly to if you were seeking a divorce, and you may be required to temporarily divide assets and property to accommodate the separation.

Obtaining a Legal Separation in Kentucky

When you seek to file for a legal separation in Kentucky, it helps when both spouses agree to it. In most cases where your spouse is adamant about divorce, or has already filed, you will be unable to obtain a separation, and will have to proceed with the divorce case. Your divorce attorney will be your best asset in this process.

You do not need to formally file for separation if there are no problems with division of assets or determining child custody. You may simply just live separately from your spouse. But for it to be valid, you need to file a Petition for Legal Separation. This petition will detail the reasons why you cannot live together, and allow you to determine the fate of your assets and child custody.

Temporary Maintenance during Legal Separation in Kentucky

You can apply for temporary maintenance, similar to alimony and child support in a divorce case. The money paid from one spouse to another during legal separation in Kentucky is designed to maintain the family’s standard of living. You cannot receive temporary maintenance payments unless you formally file the Petition for Legal Separation in Kentucky.

Temporary maintenance is separate from child support, which is another consideration you may want to discuss with your divorce attorney. Child support claims are handled separately in a legal separation, as they are more substantial and require more investigation.

Child Custody during Legal Separation in Kentucky

When minor children are involved, spouses who decide on legal separation in Kentucky need to discuss the matter of child custody. You should file a Petition for Legal Separation in Kentucky to protect you and your children in the case of future custody battles.

A child custody case during a legal separation in Kentucky is determined similarly to a child custody case in a divorce. You may still request child support, visitation rights, or restraining orders, but these must be filed with a court to be held valid.

Settling Legal Separation in Kentucky

Once the legal separation is granted, it’s up to you and your spouse to determine how long it will last. Some couples only need a few months, while others ultimately file for a divorce and dissolve the marriage. Counseling is available to those who file for legal separation in Kentucky, either through the court or as advised by a Campbell County divorce attorney.

If after counseling you decide to remain married, you may contact the court to inform them you have reconciled. If after 1 year either spouse moves for dissolution of the marriage, the decree of legal separation in Kentucky is converted to a divorce decree. Any orders made during the legal separation ends when the separation ends – either through reconciliation or divorce.

Attorney Erin Wilkins is licensed to practice law in Ohio and Kentucky state courts as well as the Southern District of Ohio federal court.

Copyright Law Office of M. Erin Wilkins, LLC
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Disclaimer: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer. For specific technical or legal advice on the information provided and related topics, please contact the author.

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