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Top Legal Separation Questions
Home Family Marriage
By: Meghan Jones Email Article
Word Count: 448 Digg it | it | Google it | StumbleUpon it


Legally, there is a difference between legal separation and divorce. However, this difference is not always clear to couples facing marital problems. Each state has its own laws regarding legal separation, and this can make it all the more confusing, giving rise to questions like the ones below.

What is a Legal Separation?
A legal separation is when a married couple files a legal separation and lives apart while still married. A legal separation is sometimes the first step couples take before a divorce. It also gives the couple an opportunity to reconsider and reconcile.

What is the Difference Between Separation and Legal Separation?
A separation is considered "legal separation" when a couple files for separation in a court and gets a separation certificate. Without this, while a couple may separate, there is no legal recognition or record of the separation. If couples separate without filing for separation with a court, then the separation does not get legal recognition. If you want to formalize the separation and give it legal recognition, you need to file it in court and get a separation certificate.

How Long after Separation do You Need to Keep the Spouse’s Belongings?
In most cases, the legal separation agreement stipulates this duration, if at all. If the separation agreement does not specify duration, you should get legal clarification from court and get the court to set an official duration for which you need to keep your spouse’s belongings.

Bankruptcy and Separation
Regardless of your marital status, it is always advisable to be completely honest with the court when you file a bankruptcy claim. Since laws vary from state to state, your marital situation and income of each spouse can impact the bankruptcy claim. For this reason alone, it is advisable to declare your separation while filing a claim for bankruptcy.

Protecting Self and Child Financially during Legal Separation
There are provisions to file for spousal maintenance while filing for legal separation. This can provide a financial cover for you and your children. To ensure that the maintenance is properly documented and filed with the court, you should include this in the legal separation itself.

Legal separation can be a stressful and traumatic experience. It also has many legal implications that can be quite complex depending on your specific situation and even the state you file your legal separation in. It is always better to get an expert legal opinion and make sure you take the legally correct course. If you have specific questions you need clarified, you can ask lawyers on JustAnswer.

The author is a staff writer at, a site that lets you ask experts and get answers quickly, easily and affordably. Ask your legal separation questions and get answers A.S.A.P when you Ask Experts at JustAnswer.

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