Before finalizing a divorce, it is common for states to have laws regarding a separation period. This is a time where both spouses decide if they want to actually follow through with the divorce, or try to work things out. In order to prevent delays in divorce proceedings, be sure to know the potential separation requirements.
What Is Separation?
When separated from a spouse, it means that the two of you are living at different locations for the entire duration of the separation. This could be challenging for some couples to do, since it requires a living arrangement that could have logistical difficulties. You must also keep in mind that certain circumstances can affect the separation.
Be sure to work with a divorce lawyer to understand what specific criteria you must follow for a separation to be valid. Some potential requirements could include needing to maintain your own address for a period of time, to not spending the night in the same home as your spouse. By knowing what the requirements are, you will not break them and cause a delay in divorce proceedings.
How Long Are Legal Separations?
Once again, the length of your legal separation will vary depending on what state you're in. One of the more strict states when it comes to legal separation is Vermont, which requires a 6-month separation period before you can finalize the divorce. You may be surprised that your state requires only a 30-day separation period, or no separation period at all.
If you do not follow the legal separation requirements, the separation period will restart. You may even need to provide documentation to the court to prove that you are living at different addresses. As you can imagine, this can significantly delay the entire process, which is why it is so important to understand the rules you need to follow.
In order to avoid any potential problem, plan on having a divorce lawyer create a legal separation agreement. It will clearly state what each person's obligations and rights are during the legal separation period, and help provide the documentation you may need. In addition, it is good practice to have the agreement in writing to avoid any potential confusion about what the rules of legal separation are.
Once your legal separation is finished and you have thought about if you really want to go through with getting a divorce, you'll be able to make the decision together. For more information and help with this process, talk with a family attorney.