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A permanent separation may follow a trial separation if a married couple decides to stay apart. In a permanent separation, the couple lives apart from one another and has no intention of reconciling their marriage or getting back together, however, they are not yet divorced. In some states, a permanent separation will cause property and marital rights to change even if the couple is still legally married. For example, if either spouse should acquire property, income, or other assets while permanently separated, those assets only belong to the spouse who acquired them. The other spouse has no rights to them. Similarly, neither spouse is responsible for any debts that the other spouse may incur while permanently separated.
Because assets and debts acquired after a couple becomes permanently separated are not shared between both spouses, conflict about the date of separation often occurs. If one spouse receives a large bonus or acquires a valuable piece of property, the other spouse may try to argue the date of their permanent separation so that they can share the asset. Similarly, if a major debt is accrued by one spouse before the permanent separation, the other spouse may claim that they were already separated so he or she does not have to share the responsibility of that debt. It may be difficult to prove the actual date of the permanent separation since the terms are often unclear while the couple decides what they want to do with their marriage.
If deciding to permanently separate, a family law attorney can help you legally define your actual separation date so that future conflicts like those described above cannot occur. A divorce lawyer will help you understand all of your rights and responsibilities that will come with or change with a permanent separation. It is recommended that you create a written agreement outlining the terms of your separation with your spouse. A family law attorney will help ensure this agreement is comprehensive and accurate. In addition, should any conflicts or disputes arise with your spouse after you are permanently separated, a family law lawyer can help protect your rights and find a quick solution.
If you are considering a permanent separation, knowing your rights and what is involved in such a separation is important. Having a family law lawyer on your side can assure you that your assets, rights, responsibilities, and relationship with your children are protected. A lawyer can also help you resolve difficult matters during a permanent separation should they occur.
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