The Effects Of Legal Separation On Divorce Proceedings

Legal separation is a divorce precursor in some states. During this period, both parties must live apart for a predetermined period both before and during the divorce process. If this life-altering process is not complicated enough, it can also introduce some questions and concerns for the people going through the process, particularly regarding how the separation can impact the proceedings.  

Child Custody Agreements

A valid and common concern amongst some people is a fear that moving out of the household will impact their ability to gain custody of their children. However, it is essential to acknowledge that the court typically looks at the bigger picture. For example, in a state where separation is required, one party must move out — there is no way around it.

Consequently, if the party that leaves remains an active parent in terms of time and finances, the court will not frown on their decision to move out. On the other hand, a party that moves out and neglects the children might have a bigger challenge on their hands.

Asset Rights

A misconception that moving out of the marital home is a declaration that you no longer have an interest in this asset is another common concern. Yet today, judges typically look at this scenario differently. When a couple divorces, even if legal separation is not required, moving apart might be best for the family's sanity and happiness. 

The court recognizes that moving out might be the best decision for the family and not a signal that the party is giving up their right to this asset. Ensuring you record your contributions to the home during the separation can help solidify your entitlement.

Spousal Support Entitlement

Generally, the court will apply state laws regarding spousal support. Income is one factor in that a spouse that earns considerably more than the other may be required to pay support. However, the ability of the less-earning spouse to potentially make more or financially support themselves is also a factor. 

For this reason, if the lesser-earning spouse moves out of the home and sufficiently supports themselves, the court could deem that even though they earn less, they are not entitled to support. An attorney can help you determine how this decision could impact you.

It is essential to look at this separation as a legal requirement. As such, it is best to seek the advice of an attorney before moving forward. An attorney will help ensure your actions are in your best interest. Reach out to a family lawyer near you to learn more.