The terms ‘separation’ and ‘divorce’ confuse many people. There are several different kinds of separations and it is important to know the differences because it can significantly impact the couples and their property rights. In this article we will give you a brief overview of the various kinds of separations, but please remember that each state is different and you should consult an attorney in your area for specific information.
A trial separation is when a couple will live apart for a period of time, and during this time the couple will decide whether or not to end the relationship permanently. If for some reason the couple does not get back together, their assets and debts that are incurred during the trial separation are considered marital property. It is important to remember that this type of separation is not legally recognized.
A permanent separation will usually follow a trial separation. This is where the couple will split permanently. In many states all debts and assets incurred during this time are separate property and are the responsibility of the person who incurred those debts or assets. It is important to note that debts that happen after separation and before divorce are usually joint, especially if they were incurred for certain necessities. For example, providing things for the couples’ children. Again, please remember that this is not a legal separation.
A legal separation is made by a court. The court will make a decision on property, alimony, child support (if children are involved), custody of children, and visitation. This is not a divorce; this type of situation is uncommon but it is not to say it doesn’t happen. Some couples, for financial or religious reasons, will choose this route instead of a divorce. A legal separation will address all the same issues as a divorce but without actually making it a divorce.
Every state is different, so it is important to consult with a professional lawyer in your area to get all the important details. If you are in the state of Wisconsin, please contact us at 414-259-9300 to speak to an attorney.