Separation Prior to Divorce?

Aug 8, 2012 by

Although all states have different laws governing how separation in a marriage works, most of them are somewhat similar in their overall meaning. Separation is a process that comes before divorce, and it can provide couples with an opportunity to work through some of their problems before finally going through with a divorce. So how is separation defined? It really depends upon how the couples go about entering into the separation and some of the other factors involved.

Legal separation versus standard separation

When we talk about the issue, it depends on if the courts are involved. If the courts have entered in the proceeding in order to lay down a ruling, then it could be considered legal separation. Many couples enter into this sort of separation because they have children involved and there is some dispute over where those kids will live when the couple is apart. In some cases, a judge will dictate visitation and custody rights for the parents while they are working through their problems, and this can be a nice way for people to sort out their issues.

Trial separation as a means of reconciliation

Many states require couples to go through some sort of cooling off period before divorce can be filed. Because of the ramifications that go along with getting divorced, the courts are hoping that people will take time to work it out or at least give things another shot. In many cases, a “trial” separation can be an option for disgruntled couples. This is usually done without the courts, and it is something of a friendly arrangement. Couples give each other space and they might attend counseling either on their own or together in order to get some answers.

Division of property in a separation

One of the things to keep in mind during a separation period is that some of the things that go on during that period will be used as determinants when it comes time to file for divorce. If the marriage can’t be salvaged, the division of property that occurred during the separation can often be used in order to decide who gets what during the divorce. This is not always the case, but many courts will award property based upon this method, so it is important to keep that in mind when you go for either legal separation or a trial separation.

Ultimately, a separation can be a very productive process if a couple will take it seriously. It is a good first step before going for divorce, and gives couples a chance to work things out before it becomes too late.


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