Overview Of Three Types Of Separation

Divorce and annulment are not the only routes you can take if your marriage is in trouble. Separation is an alternative route you can try. Below are the three major forms of separation available today.

Trial Separation

A trial separation is a voluntary agreement to separate from your partner. Some people opt for a trial separation to assess the viability of their marriage. For example, you can opt for trial separation if you are contemplating divorce but have not made up your mind.

The law does not recognize trial separation. A trial separation is an informal arrangement between you and your spouse. You decide how long you want to separate, who gets to live with the kids, and how to take care of your finances, among other things. Since the government doesn't recognize trial separation, it won't enforce your trial separation agreement. 

Permanent Separation

A permanent separation arises if you decide to separate from your spouse with no intention of reconciliation. State laws determine how to handle assets and debts during permanent separation. In some states, the permanent separation might affect your property rights. In some states, you can come up with an agreement that you can use as the basis of your divorce decree — in case you take that route.

Your date of separation is significant. Depending on your state laws, properties you earn after that date may be solely yours. However, moving back in with your spouse might create a new date of separation. Things can get confusing if you keep moving back and forth between separate and marital residences.

Legal Separation

Some states recognize legal separation for couples who decide to live apart without getting a divorce. You have to submit your petition for legal separation with the court just as you would a divorce petition if you wanted to divorce. You have to file a legal separation agreement with the court.  

A legal separation agreement covers most of the issues a divorce agreement covers. Examples include custody, asset division, alimony, and child support, among others. Legal separation is typically simpler than divorce. Note that you remain legally married, even with legal separation. As such, you cannot remarry after legal separation.

Hopefully, you won't ever face marital difficulties to the point of contemplating separation or divorce. However, you deserve the right to end your marriage if that is what you want. Whichever route you decide to take, consult a family law attorney to learn more about the process.



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