For Alabama couples who recognize that they need space to re-evaluate their
marriage, but are not ready to commit the finality of a divorce, separation
is likely their best option. Too many couples, however, believe that merely
living apart for a time is "good enough" for these purposes
and do not take the proper legal precautions. In the event of an eventual
divorce or other legal action, many spouses who do not file for a legal
separation find themselves dealing with more financial frustrations than
they bargained for.
Merely living apart does not constitute a “legal” separation
and during this time apart, the actions of one spouse can negatively affect
the entire state of the marriage. For instance, debt that is incurred
by one spouse during this time will be considered shared in the eyes of
the court—as is all income. A legally-recognized separation would
eliminate this kind of risk by officially creating a partition between
you and your spouse for the duration of the time apart.
Why Legal Separations are Recommended
Legal separations are granted by the court, who must determine that a marriage
is "irretrievably broken," or recognizes that both spouses are
incompatible or desire to live apart. From there, the court will rule
on child support and custody (and, sometimes, alimony). Further financial
protections are also put in place for the couple:
- Following the separation, all income—including retirement benefits—will
be considered separate property and not shared by the couple.
- A spouse can sell real estate owned by them without the consent/signature
of the other spouse.
- Each spouse can waive rights to eventual inheritance from the other spouse.
As you can see, these agreements are almost as comprehensive as a divorce
agreement, but with one key difference: the marriage remains intact. Following
a legal separation, the couple still has a choice to reunite or to move
on with a divorce.
If you believe that a legal separation could be right for you and your
spouse, we invite you to contact us today at
Beckum Kittle LLP. We are well-versed in assisting couples negotiate and establish their
separation during this uncertain time and always ensure that they're
rights are protected and that there interests are looked after.
The guidance and compassion you need is just a phone call away.
Contact us to request a free case evaluation today.