20 Aug 16

Can a separation be used as grounds for divorce?

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Many people don;t understand what separation means. There are four different types of separation. Each type of separation can have impact your property and spousal rights differently. Below is a general overview of the types of separations.

Trial Separation – This is when a couple lives apart for a test period to figure out whether to separate permanently. If the spouses don’t get back together, the assets and debt they accumulated are considered marital property. This type of separation isn’t legally recognized. It can be grounds for a divorce, if the separation lasts long enough.

Living apart – Spouses who aren’t residing in the same dwelling are living apart. Living apart without intending to reunite changes a spouses property rights. For example, some states consider the property + debt accumulated while living apart to be separate property. In other states, property is joint – unless and until divorce is filed. In some states, couples must live apart for a period of time before they can file a no-fault divorce.

Permanent Separation – If a couple decides to permanently split up, it’s called a permanent separation. It can follow a trial separation, or begin immediately when a couples starts living apart. In most states, all property + assets generated after permanent separation is considered separate property/responsibility.

A couples decision to permanently separate may not be considered fully legal, unless one or more parties files for legal separation.  Legal separation is when the parties separate and the court rules on a division agreement pertaining to property, alimony, child support, custody, and other such things – but doesn’t grant a divorce. This isn’t very common, but it happens enough.

Either way, separation is mandatory in some states in order to file a divorce. In many states, it can be used as the foundation for filing a divorce. To learn more, speak to one of our divorce lawyers in nyc.

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