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Would being separated be grounds for a divorce?

The decision to get divorced is a huge step forward. When people get divorced, they remove the legal contracts that bind them to another person. Under such laws, someone who gets a divorce is no longer responsible for certain legal obligations. They need no longer be responsible for that person’s debts or for paying for the partner’s medical bills. Before doing anything else, it’s important to understand what steps are necessary in order to get a divorce. Depending on the couple’s location, a divorce will typically take at least several months or even a year. There are many grounds for divorce. This includes people who simply cannot get along, a partner who is verbally and physically abusive as well as a partner who has taken up with someone else. Part of the process of getting a divorce is what is known as a formal separation.

The Different Types of Separation

The process of separation generally falls into three separate categories. There’s a trial separation, a permanent separation and a legal separation. Anyone should remember that a separation is not a divorce. Even if the couple is living apart, this does not mean they are considered divorced. Neither party is free to get married again. A trial separation is often the first step in the decision to get a divorce. During the trial separation, the two members of the couple agree to live apart. They get separate residences and may decide to make other decisions separately. A trial separation is often a good idea if the parties simply aren’t on the same page in life anymore. This kind of separation can make it clear to both parties that can no longer live together as husband and wife. On the other hand, the trial separation may also make it clear that both parties wish to remain married. The short period of separation may help them go to marriage counseling and learn to resolve their differences in a more productive manner. A short separation may even ultimately bring a couple together again. A trial separation can be the grounds for a divorce but other steps will also be necessary in order to get the divorce finished.

Permanent Separation

Another type of separation is a permanent separation. This kind of separation means that both parties have no intention of ever getting back together again. Each lives apart. Keep in mind that this kind of separation can change certain issues between the couple. For example, in some states, when both parties are permanently separated, if your partner sells the house for a profit you may not have the right to half the equity because you didn’t live there anymore. Similarly, if the spouse winds up in debt during this time frame, the other partner can claim they are not responsible for any debt incurred. If you intend to use this kind of separation as a basis for a divorce, it is vitally important to document when the separation started. If you do decide to have temporary night out and a fling with your partner just once, this can invalidate the start of the permanent separation. You can also choose to simply get a long term separation and not make any further moves. Sometimes people do this because one party is ill and needs access to health insurance. A permanent separation can be grounds for a divorce. However, it does not constitute a divorce in and of itself. The parties intending a divorce must go through further legal steps.

A Legal Separation

Some states let people get what is known is a legal separation. A legal separation is done through the family court system. This is also not a divorce but it can also serve as the basis for asking for a divorce. A legal separation may include specifics that are common in divorces such as child custody agreements, property division and spousal support. These agreements, just like a divorce decree, also have the force of law. Each party must adhere to the terms of the legal separation. Some people can choose this kind of separation as a form of divorce. They may not want a formal divorce because their religion does not allow it. There may a reluctance to sever family ties and a belief that perhaps now is not the best time to get a divorce because they have young children or because the house they purchased together is no longer worth as much as it was when they bought it. This form of separation can linger for many months or even years. Neither party may want to get divorced or enter into a new relationship with someone else.

Speak With a Lawyer

In all instances pertaining to any kind of separation, it is best to seek legal counsel as soon as possible. Separations can be complicated and confusing. Many people aren’t clear what is involved in this decision. This is why each party should know exactly what will happen during the separation. From there, there are many possibilities. A couple that finds the trial separation only leads them to get back together will need to make sure that neither party suffers any legal or fiscal penalties. The same is true of those who choose a formal separation. Each member of the couple should have a clear indication of their rights and responsibilities. Doing so makes any kind of separation easier and less stressful.

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