A legal separation is a way to add financial responsibility for child support and potentially spousal maintenance to a couple that is separated. It’s different than a divorce or dissolution in that the couple isn’t free to marry unless the separation agreement is changed into a divorce or dissolution.
It ensures that child support is accounted for and paid if there are children involved in the relationship and if one of the couple had stayed home to care for the child it may also include spousal maintenance for a time said a family lawyer from Holtz Law.
Typically, a separation of this sort is used for religious reasons or if one of the couple is unsure about a divorce or dissolution. It will remain in effect until it is changed or dropped.
It gives the two halves of the couple financial freedom from one another’s debt and allows them to pursue their own lives as long as they don’t remarry without first completing and finalizing a divorce or a dissolution.
Many couples opt for a separation of this sort if they’re considering whether or not a divorce is the right answer to their dilemma. Perhaps they’re in the midst of counseling and trying to work things out yet one member of the couple requires some form of support or had medical needs and can’t lose the medical portion of the union.
There are many different reasons for a separation vs a divorce or dissolution and all of them are as unique as the couple themselves. While separated, the couple is free to pursue other relationships and buy or sell property. They can do just about anything that their single counterparts would do, except remarry without first making a trip to an attorney to sign finalization papers for a divorce or dissolution.
Contrary to popular belief, a separation does not automatically flip over to a divorce or dissolution after a specified amount of time. A separation will remain in effect until one member of the couple or the other does something else with it such as either drop it or change it over to a divorce or dissolution.
If the legal separation is going to be changed over to a divorce or dissolution, it will still take the same amount of time as if the couple had filed for a divorce or dissolution, in other words, at least 90 days (depending on the state that they reside in).