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Can the legal separation be withdrawn if we get back together?

October 11, 2017 Our Blog

If you have gotten a legal separation from your spouse, it doesn’t mean that the marriage has to end. In fact, the point of a separation is to see if there is any chance of the marriage working out after spending time apart. Therefore, it is possible to cancel a separation agreement if a couple chooses to get back together.

Separation Isn’t Permanent Like Divorce

On its face, a separation agreement can look a lot like a divorce agreement. A couple may agree to divide assets or determine who is responsible for a form of child or spousal support. However, the agreement is not a permanent one, which means that it can be withdrawn if and when a couple chooses to get back together. The agreement may also be suspended for a time if both parties approve of such an arrangement.

There Is Technically No Separation Anymore

When a couple chooses to get back together, there is technically no separation anymore. In most cases, a couple has to be living either in separate locations or in different parts of the house. For example, a husband may agree to move into a motel downtown or live in the basement apartment. Once a couple is living together and sharing a living space, the separation is over, and the agreement is essentially void.

Agreements Don’t Need To Be Enforced

An agreement is only effective if both parties agree to enforce its terms. If a husband decides not to pursue child support from his wife, the wife isn’t likely to face any consequences for not making payments. However, it is likely that she is providing support or otherwise helping to take care of the child in a meaningful way.

In that regard, it is almost like saying that the agreement does not exist. Therefore, it may not even be necessary to withdraw it, and doing so may be more time and money than either side may have to spend on the matter. However, it may still be a good idea to consult with an attorney as to how long an agreement may be valid if there is no attempt to enforce it.

The Agreement May Come With an End Date

It may be possible to include a stipulation in a separation agreement that it expires at a certain point in the future. At that point, the couple can choose to get back together or start the process of filing for a divorce. Having an end date may be effective as it forces each side to make a decision in a timely manner. This may allow for both the adults and any children from the marriage to have closure one way or the other.

Was the Agreement Valid?

If the agreement wasn’t valid to begin with, there may be no need to reverse it. A legal separation may not be valid if one party was forced to sign under duress or if the terms were found to be especially unfair to one side. It may also be invalid if it was filed incorrectly or was not filed in a timely manner.

Make Sure to Restore Joint Status

After deciding to reconcile, it is important for a couple to regain its joint status. For the most part, married couples that decide to get back together can file their taxes jointly and retain joint ownership of property immediately. As with any other legal issue a person may have, it may be best to talk with an attorney to determine how and when joint status be regained.

It is rare for couples not to fight or otherwise engage in conflict throughout their relationship. In some cases, it takes time apart for people to realize how much they need their significant other around. Therefore, the law makes it relatively easy for separated couples to withdraw any agreement that they created and return to their relationship.



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