Frequently Asked Questions (“FAQ”)
Q: What is a "Separation"?
A: A separation occurs when a married couple decides they no longer want to live together, but decide to live apart for a while.
Q: What is a "Legal Separation"?
A: Legal separation is a formal judgment issued by a court of law that all the issues about a marriage have resolved. A judgment of a legal separation lawsuit leaves the couple with the legal status of married persons, while settling the respective rights and obligations that each spouse has to the other. Spouses who have separated are not free to marry, since neither has returned to the legal status of an unmarried person.
Q: What are the Advantages to a Legal Separation?
A: Legal separation is usually pursued when the parties want to stay married for religious reasons, want the advantage of deductibility of spousal support payments for income tax reasons, want to maintain various insurance coverage, or do not want to wait on the state statutory waiting period for termination of marital status. For some people, a legal separation sets the parameters for dealing with one another while living separate and apart. Legal separation is not a prerequisite to divorce or dissolution of marriage.
Q: If a Couple Separates Pending a No Fault Divorce, Are They Allowed to Date Each Other During the Separation Period?
A: If there are “automatic” stay away orders, and you have been “dating”, then the court is going to look upon the filing as a “sham.” A sham means, there is no present intent to become separated and the court will not grant the divorce. As a matter of fact, the court could issue monetary sanctions for having violated the “stay away” order. “Separation” within the meaning of most states’ laws, requires more than a rift in the spouses’ relationship. The date of “separation” occurs only when the parties have come to a parting of the ways with no present intent to resume their marriage, and their conduct evidences a complete and final break in the marital relationship.