Divorce defines the end of a marriage. It’s the legal process that allows married people to terminate their marriage, which usually occurs before the death of either party (for urgent matters for a criminal defense attorney in Dallas see the link). Many married parties who can’t find a feasible solution to resolve their marriage seek divorce as a last resort.
Sometimes, it’s the first option for parties who can’t get along. No matter the situation, divorce as a legal solution is a process both parties should learn more about before committing to the divorce process.
Though, before filing for a divorce, both parties usually seek what’s called a legal separation. Although both parties recognize legal separations as an entirely separate process from divorce, several types of legal separations exist.
Types of legal separation
A legal separation is defined as ‘an arrangement where both parties remain married, but life apart following and/or in accordance with a court order.’ Legal separations allow both parties to continue to live their lives before and during the divorce process. The different types of legal separations mainly affect the ownership of property or assets in a marriage.
Trial separations depict both parties living apart for a test period. This allows them to decide whether or not they wish to live permanently separated. Assets and debts incurred during this period are still considered marital property.
Living apart from one another
Married parties who no longer live within the same household are considered to be ‘living apart.’ Some states actually change the spouses’ property rights if they live apart without any intention to reunite. Debts, property and other assets incurred during this period belong to the party who gained the asset or debt. Some states may declare property (during this period) joint property until the divorce is filed. Other states may also require couples to live apart for some time before filing a no-fault divorce.
This describes when a couple decides to permanently separate. It usually follows a trial separation, though it commonly begins once a couple starts living apart. Most states consider any asset, property or debt incurred after permanent separation the property of the individual spouse who accumulated them.
A legal separation is the legally recognized version of a separation. It’s established when both parties separate and the court rules on the division of alimony and child support, child custody and visitation, property and other assets. It doesn’t, however, grant a legal divorce. Although legal separations aren’t as common as they seem, they do provide separated couples a degree of finality for their relationship before seeking a divorce.
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