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

  • I’m Getting Divorced, What Do I Do with the Credit Cards?
    A common question that is received is what happens to credit card debt when you get a divorce.
  • Divorcing a Spouse with a Mental Illness
    Mental health issues are widespread nowadays and have been discovered to be a leading cause of divorce.
  • Common Pre-Nuptial Agreement Terms in New Jersey
    Marriage is synonymous with trust, commitment and a long term relationship.
  • Constructive Spousal Desertion in Maryland
    All relationships go through rough patches, but sometimes, it may be too much for a spouse and they decide they want to leave. Spousal desertion can have legal ramifications. The deserting spouse can be penalized by having to pay higher alimony, and it can also affect the division of property.
  • Child Custody and Housing Options
    Traditionally, child custody was given primarily to one parent – usually the mother – and the other parent would have some form of visitation. This often consisted of every other weekend, Wednesday evenings, a portion of the summer and alternating holidays.
  • CJEU Rules Child’s Physical Presence Is Condition for Habitual Residence
    Court of Justice of the European Union has ruled in 2017 that when a child is living in a residence for a continued period, this is considered habitual residence. His or her physical presence within the property may be used for means of considering the family or parent and child to live there as at least the primary amount of time through the year.
  • How a Family Law Lawyer Helps Divide Complex Assets During a Divorce
    When going through a divorce, it is best to ensure a family law lawyer has been hired to assist with the proceedings. These professionals have the knowledge it takes to assist with dividing assets, understanding what complex assets that exist in the marriage and explaining certain details to the spouse.
  • 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.



Find a Lawyer

Find a Local Lawyer