Legally, there is a difference between separation and divorce. However, this difference is not always clear to couples facing marital problems. Each state has its own laws regarding legal separation, and this can make it all the more confusing, giving rise to questions like the ones below.
What Is a Legal Separation?
A legal separation is when a married couple files and lives apart while still married. This is sometimes the first step couples take before a divorce. Many times couples chose to go this route before filing for a divorce because it also gives the couple an opportunity to reconsider and reconcile. This is a great opportunity to also split assets and come to terms and agreements prior to a divorce.
What Is the Difference Between Separation and Legal Separation?
A separation is when a married couple decides to live in different homes. To be considered legal the couple will file for separation in a court and get a certificate. Without this, while a couple may split up, there is no legal recognition or record of any agreement.
How Long After Separation Do You Need to Keep the Spouse’s Belongings?
In most cases, the legal separation agreement stipulates this duration, if at all. If the agreement does not specify duration, you should get legal clarification from court and get the court to set an official duration for which you need to keep your spouse’s belongings.
Bankruptcy and Separation
Regardless of your marital status, it is always advisable to be completely honest with the court when you file a bankruptcy claim. Since laws vary from state to state, your marital situation and income of each spouse can impact the bankruptcy claim. For this reason alone, it is advisable to declare your marital situation while filing a claim for bankruptcy.
Protecting Yourself and Children Financially During Legal Separation
There are provisions to file for spousal maintenance. This can provide a financial cover for you and your children and ensure that you are not living below your means and resources. To ensure that the maintenance is properly documented and filed with the court, you should include this in the legal separation itself when filing. Legal advice may be needed through a family law attorney.
Legal separation can be a stressful and traumatic experience. It also has many legal implications that can be quite complex depending on your specific situation and even the state you file. It is always better to get an expert legal opinion and make sure you take the leg correct course. If you have specific questions you need clarified, you can ask lawyers on JustAnswer.