Legal Marriage Separation

A marriage dissolves only after a divorce is final. However, there are instances when a couple may choose not to reside together as a married couple. In such cases, the finances, assets, and debts are divided among the couple along with the custody of the child, and the two individuals can begin living separate lives. This is called a legal marriage separation. It is also required in cases where the couple is seeking a divorce. Many states require that a couple legally separate before getting divorced, and hence, the concerned papers will have to be drawn from the court.


Usually, the marriage separation agreement is drawn after many discussions and negotiations regarding the division of assets, liabilities, the support, maintenance, custody, and visitation issues of the children. All terms and conditions have to be clearly mentioned in the document. It is usually recommended that an attorney be hired to draft an agreement that will need all your requirements. You can find plenty of sample agreements on the internet. This document has to be duly attested by the couple and two witnesses. Such agreements are very beneficial in saving money during a divorce. In a contested divorce, i.e., a divorce without an agreement, the costs can go into thousands of dollars in attorney fees, court costs, filing fees, etc., which in turn can cause a lot of stress and emotional strain. In an uncontested divorce, the separation document is ready, which already contains information regarding the alimony, child custody and support, and property division. Hence, the cost of the divorce is far less and is also very quick.


This arrangement is usually seen as a preamble to divorce. But, it has been observed in many cases that when a couple spends some time apart, it gives them an opportunity to think and reevaluate their need for a divorce. There have been many instances when the couple has decided to give their marriage another chance.


Marriage is a powerful institution, and every couple must make every effort to ensure that it brings them every joy that it promises to bring. However, people grow and change over a period of time, and it may so happen that the two people who promised to spend their lives together now find it difficult to live under the same roof. Divorce is now not the only way out. There are many kinds of help available these days like counseling and a separation.

This process is one step away from a divorce, and a couple must evaluate their reasons very thoroughly before deciding to separate. One of the most prominent guideline to follow when deciding if it is the right option for you is that, your reasons for it must be almost the same as your spouse. Once this is decided, there are some rules that you must follow during the tenure.

  • Set a tentative duration of how long to remain separated, for example three months. At the end of this duration, both of you can evaluate your options and feelings and carry forward from there.
  • Both the members must agree to individual and joint counseling during the period. This will give a chance to each of you to work out your individual feelings and also work out your issues together as a couple.
  • If you and your spouse really want to give your relationship another chance, then both of you must agree not to date anybody else during that period.

To conclude, the system is doing everything in its power to ensure that the rate of divorce goes down. It is very unfortunate when the statistics show that one in every two marital bonds is headed towards a divorce. The aforementioned arrangement helps the couple live separate lives but still remain married, giving them ample opportunity to work out their differences, no matter how long it takes. Every individual must use this golden opportunity and give love another chance.

Marital Separation

Every marriage is different and yet none is perfect. Every relationship has its own set of problems, which are unique to that relationship. The success of a marital relationship depends upon how well the couple resolves their conflicts. Lack of willingness from both sides to address the underlying issues, often leads to divorce. However, there are some couples who are desperate to hang on to their marriage and are willing to go that extra mile to make things work between them. For such couples, separation can be a good solution. As per statistics, most couples head for divorce after the separation period expires. Nonetheless, there are a few couples who gain an entirely new perspective upon their relationship and get on with their life with a fresh start. Thus, this process is worth a try for every couple experiencing difficulties in their relationship.

How Does Separating Help
Couples who hit troubled waters in their relationship, often spend most of the time bickering and arguing over petty things. Every morning they wake up to each other, only to face the same issues again. Due to the constant bickering over frivolous things, the couple often ignores the main cause of dispute. Things begin to turn ugly as the couple eventually resorts to hurting each other and pampering their own egos. There is neither time for introspecting one’s behavior, nor there is any productive discussion to make things work between them. By filing for separation and implementing it in due course, the couple gets some breathing space. The temporary exit from each other’s lives allows them to handle their lives independently. This helps to restore the mental peace in both the partners. They get ample time to ponder over their past mistakes and come up with some solutions to resolve the issue in question. At the end of the period, each of the partners gains a fresh perspective towards their relationship. This can eventually help the couple to bond again.

When Does Separating Help
There are certain circumstances in which this helps, while there are cases where separation only prolongs an impending divorce. It helps in cases where both the partners show an equal urge to save their marriage. When both the partners are willing to take efforts to do whatever it takes to work out issues between them, the chances of reconciliation are very bright. However, in cases where only one partner clings to marriage while the other is in hurry to get divorce, the chances of successful reconciliation are nil. People with cheating spouses or threatening partners seldom benefit from the process. Lastly, the decision should not be made reluctantly and seen as an obstacle towards the divorce. Instead, it should be a mutual agreement with the hope for a positive outcome.

Dealing with Separation
If the decision was not mutual, then it might come as a shock to the spouse who did not instigate it. Oftentimes, people take their partner’s warnings to leave them very lightly. Finally, when it does happen, they might realize their mistakes and make attempts to reconcile with their partners. However, this won’t help in cases where the spouse was anyway ready to file for divorce. In some cases, the process may widen the gap between the couple and may force one of them to get closer to the third person, if involved. Hence, it is important that the couple reaches a consensus where each of them agrees not to get involved with any other person during this period. If the rift between the couple was already wide and there was a lack of communication, then the two partners may continue with their lives as nonchalantly as before. However, if the love and attraction between the couple is still intact, they will indeed yearn to get back.

During this period try to lead your life as healthy as possible and maintain a positive outlook towards life. Let go of past grudges and learn from your mistakes. Render emotional support to your children (if involved) and take efforts to rebuild your life.

Considered a Legal Separation

At times, the differences in marital alliance increase to an extent wherein divorce seems to be the only way out. But, that’s one option which is best left untouched, unless the chances of reconciliation don’t exist at all. A much better way out is to try to work things out by giving each other enough space, and this is where legal separation comes into the picture. Basically, it is a type of separation wherein the couple remains married in legal terms, but opt for separation and choose to live their separate lives on their own terms. Being married, but opting for separate lives; that may sound a bit confusing, and one has to go through some details to get a hang of this legal process.

What is a Legal Separation?

So, ‘legal separation’ is a legal process which allows a couple to opt for de facto separation without having to break the matrimonial alliance. Simply put, it is a legal provision which allows the couple remain legally married, while choosing their own separate lives. It is at times referred to as ‘judicial separation’ and ‘divorce a mensa et thoro’ (‘divorce from bed-and-board’). While some sources refer to it as ‘separate maintenance’ as well, this term actually refers to financial arrangements post legal separation, and hence, should not be considered a synonym for the process. The process is initiated through court proceedings after which the permission is granted by a court order. As legal separation involves monitoring by the court, it is considered better than simply starting to live separately.

According to the United States Laws

The laws pertaining to legal separation, and the procedure involved, may differ from one country to another – and one state to another within a country. In the United States, this process is recognized by all states – except for Georgia, Florida, Delaware, Pennsylvania, Texas and Mississippi. Division of assets as well as debts, the custody of the child/children, support payment for either spouse, etc., are some issues which can be sorted out by resorting to legal separation. However, the assets and debts acquired by either of the two individuals involved in course separation are not considered to be a part of the marital estate.

What is the Purpose of Legal Separation?

Even though it is not stated so, the most prominent purpose of this concept is to give the married couple a last chance to see whether things can work out between them. Going by the judicial point of view, a couple is granted the permission to opt for legal marriage separation when the court is convinced that the couple can no longer get along, but they want to remain legally married in order to protect other interests – family, social, religious, or financial, which are of significant importance in their lives. By opting for a legal separation, the couple protects these interests until they come to a conclusion that things cannot get better from here on, and opt to file for a divorce.

Legal Separation Vs. Divorce

Even though a stipulated period of legal separation is mandatory for filing divorce which, in turn, makes this type of separation a part divorce proceedings, one has to understand that two are different from each other. The foremost point of distinction between legal separation and divorce is the fact that divorce is an extreme measure which ends your matrimonial alliance – and results in severe implications on the lives of both individuals involved. For instance, the health insurance cover, which continues in case of legal separation, is brought to an end by a divorce, and this in turn results in both individuals having to shell out more money for premium. Similarly, a person who is legally separated is not entitled to marry another person, and if he/she intends to do so divorce is a must. Legal separation doesn’t lead to divorce, the latter has to be initiated explicitly if reconciliation is not possible.

At the end of the day, legal or judicial separation is believed to be a temporary solution for marital woes, wherein you are neither married nor divorced. It is virtually impossible to say whether separation of any sort is an ideal way out as circumstances tend to differ from one case to another. However, if you believe that separating from your spouse is the only way out of the prevailing circumstances, you should assess the legalities involved in your jurisdiction so as to make sure that the separation process best protects your interest.

Tips to File for Legal Separation

unduhan-21Relationships cannot be treated lightly, let alone a marriage! They are a two way street and there is always a lot that goes into making them work. But truth is, nobody is perfect, and every so often a relationship, or more specifically, a marriage could turn sour. The reasons could be numerous, what’s important is, knowing what you want the end result of the marriage to be. There’s only two ways it could work. Either you work on it and fix it, or you end it. The latter does seem drastic if the problems are not so grave. Filing for a legal separation at times like these is the better way out for sure, especially because it gives you the space to restore the relationship back to what it may have once been. A lot of people are unaware at times, and this could lead to mistakes in the decisions made. So let us first understand the basic distinction between a divorce and legal separation.

Legal Separation Vs. Divorce

The stark difference between a legal separation and a divorce is that when a couple has opted for the former, they are still legally married, whereas being divorced would mean that a marriage has been dissolved altogether. Every now and again a legal separation could act as a means to help resolving differences and other marital issues, but there are no guarantees. There are instances when things work for the worse and the result is divorce. But what is legal separation really? Here’s what it is…

Legal separation in effect refers to validating a state of being separated from one’s spouse while still being married. Occasionally used as a solution to fix a marriage, in a majority of cases, a legal separation acts as nothing more than a buffer and a method to buy time so that important details can be figured out. Money matters, property matters, in case of children, custody matters, the period of legal separation acts as the perfect medium to decide these issues. Another advantage is that reconciliation is way simpler in case of separation especially since according to law, you are still married.

Divorce, on the other hand, is a permanent dissolution of marriage. A step that is way more extreme as opposed to that just mentioned. This is as much a legal process as a separation is, and cannot be gone ahead with, without the countenance of the court. It takes away the marital status of the person, but it does not nullify the marriage. Also, divorce is not permitted or patronized by all religions, and cultures. Thus, in cases like those, legal separation acts as the best solution. So, now that you are aware of the basic difference, we’ll move on to filing for separation.

Filing for Legal Separation

  • Very evidently, the first step towards filing for a legal separation is to turn to the services of a good lawyer. There are instances when people will opt to go through handling the procedure themselves, but in situations like that, the bare minimum of the advice of an experienced lawyer is required.
  • It is also important to make sure that you meet the residency requirements of the state you live in. Every state has a different system of functioning, and you must find out certain details before you get in to deep into the procedure.
  • The next important aspect to keep in mind is that of filing a legal separation agreement, along with the petition. The purpose of this agreement is to cover factors such as child custody, child support, visitation rights, spousal support, and / or all such legalities. The purpose for this agreement normally is so that there is concrete documentation if the separation were to lead to divorce.
  • Ongoing through the procedure mentioned thus far, the petition needs to be served on your spouse, unless it is being filed jointly. Once your spouse has been served with the petition, he / she has a certain amount of time to respond to it. Upon agreement from both parties involved, a notarized signature of both parties is required in order to be provided to the court. However, if for any reason, the petition isn’t accepted, a counter petition may be filed.
  • If everything is acceptable to all parties involved, the separation agreement must be signed and submitted to the judge. This agreement will get reviewed by the judge, and then filed with the county clerk.

Every state may have certain specifications that it works too, hence, it is of utmost importance to clarify all such details before getting into the procedure. Now that you know the filing process, all you need to wait for is the completion of processing. As far as possible though, try to save your marriage from getting to that point in the first place.