During a legal separation, parties remain married rather than ending the marriage as in a divorce. Legal separations are court orders that mandate a couple’s duties and rights while they live apart but remain married. They are rare, but they can be beneficial in situations where spouses work through financial and personal issues. In legal separation proceedings, courts and a legal separation lawyer in Sugar Land, TX decide matters of maintenance, child custody, visitation, and property division, much as they would in a divorce case.
In a trial separation, spouses live separately and they decide whether to remain married. A trial separation has no legal effect, unlike a separation where parties are legally required to fulfill certain obligations. Property and debt acquired during trial separations are regarded as marital property, even if the parties never reunite. Property classifications do not change unless a spouse decides to terminate the marriage.
In some cases, circumstances cause couples to live apart without the intent to remain married. Some jurisdictions require couples seeking no-fault divorces to live separately for a predetermined period, and separate living can affect property division matters. Any debt or assets acquired during separation is classified depending on the jurisdiction. In areas with community property laws, all debt and property amassed before either party expresses an intent to end the marriage remain marital in nature. A lawyer can use state law to address matters of property division.
Once the couple separates forever, the separation is said to be permanent. These separations have no legal effect because no paperwork has been filed. Most jurisdictions see everything acquired after a permanent separation as being that spouse’s separate property. However, debts acquired before divorce for family reasons are treated jointly.
Because all jurisdictions have different laws on the division of debt and property, it’s important to refer to state law when a spouse decides to get more information. Determinations of law can become quite complex due to changing circumstances, and it’s a good idea for both spouses to consult a legal separation lawyer in Sugar Land, TX. They can help spouses determine whether legal separation or divorce is a better option.