Divorce Guide

Divorce Guide


Are we legally separated if we have been living apart?


Are we legally separated if we have been living apart?

You are not legally separated until the court decides and it issues a judgment of separation.

Legal separation refers to a court order that acknowledges that a couple is no longer living together. This order resolves all the issues regarding the marriage and living separately. Legal separation does not end a marriage, but it may end staying of a couple together. A legal separation is a form of a legally binding consent decree and hence is also termed as judicial separation. The order pertaining legal separation outlines the rights and responsibilities of each spouse while they live apart. The most common reason to seek legal separation is to make arrangements as to who will pay what bills, property, financial support, etc.

In case of legal separation, the court files an agreement and executes it as a formal and legal document. The contents of the document are decided by the spouses and it could be anything they prefer.

In case of children, there are temporary arrangements for the care, financial support and custody of the children. The court order for legal separation is a document of child custody.

In case you are staying separate, it is wise to get a legal separation order and make things legal. There are a lot of benefits you can get after you are legally separated. You may not be in a position to claim these in case you are just living separately and do not have a court order in this regard.

  1. Legal separation allows the couple to live separately and retain the marital status for religious beliefs. Hence, many a times, legal separation is also called as legal catholic separation.
  2. You can enjoy medical benefits and other benefits as a family
  3. If you are a military spouse, you can avail advantages of benefits set up by the Uniformed Services Former Spouse Protection Act
  4. Certain Social Security Benefits
  5. Arrangements for the care, financial support and custody of the children are made and it becomes less burden some
  6. The order pertaining legal separation outlines the rights and responsibilities of each spouse while they live apart

Legal separation never means divorce and it is an arrangement in which the couple prefers to stay separate. In this case, the marriage is very much intact and this arrangement is just a legal way of sharing responsibilities, while the couple enjoys the benefits of marriage.

Legal separation document can be converted into a divorce decree if you want to divorce later after getting separate. So, only living apart is not considered as legal separation. You need to have a legal separation order from the court of your state.


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