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Why to Separate before Getting a Divorce

Jun 2, 2008
Before anyone can seek a divorce, separation must occur. Many states require separation as part of their specific divorce laws while others may not. A separation is a time for you to get your finances together, talk with your children about where they want to live, and give yourself time to see if divorce is the best solution for your troubled marriage.

In order to be allowed to divorce a spouse, most states require a separation first. In many states, you have to be separated from your spouse for a particular amount of time before you can start a divorce proceeding. This means that you have to actually be living in separate places, not just sleeping in different beds within the same dwelling.

Most of the time separation is voluntary, although desertion does occur. When a spouse leaves with no intent to return to the relationship, it is referred to as desertion. When a spouse forces the other spouse to leave, like in cases of abuse, it is known as constructive desertion. Since, in this case, leaving is a necessity for the safety of all involved, the court will not accuse you of desertion.

Much like in a divorce, separation from a spouse requires you to divide all your shared belongings. When you do separate from your spouse, you should be sure that all other methods to save your relationship have been exhausted. This means seeking counseling, talking with your spouse, and making a concerted effort to reconcile your differences. When all else fails, then it is important you and your spouse come to an agreement before going your separate ways. This entails finding out whether or not one will stay in the current residence while the other moves or if you both will both move and sell the marital residence.

Other things should be addressed at this time as well, such as how the vehicles will be separated or who will take the family pet. Also, when children are involved, you have to be conscious of their interests and how the separation will affect them. Then you'll need to decide where the children will live during the separation period. During a separation period, you should find a suitable lawyer you can trust, because you will have to divulge personal information. Finding a lawyer that is trustworthy, competent, and can relate to you is half the battle in the beginnings of a divorce settlement.

During the separation time before divorce you can get your personal finances in order. This is very important because, if your ex-spouse is unable to make payments on anything in the future, it will prevent creditors from coming after you. You may have to give your attorney a complete account of your finances, including all liabilities and assets. You should also tell your spouse that you are canceling all joint credit card accounts, opening new ones that are only in your name.

You can have any stocks you own reissued in your own name as well. If you both used the same broker for your accounts, it is wise for you to look for a new one. You will need to make changes to your will or trust in order to remove references to your spouse. Write down all the changes, make copies of any documents, and record them into a file for the divorce settlement.

Much like a divorce, separation involves a lot of thought and consideration. Decisions should not be made hastily when you are considering ending a marriage. Children need to be thought of first when it comes to preserving their well-being and stability. How couples handle a separation can set the tone as to how their divorce proceeding will go once the required period of time has expired.
About the Author
Charles Sellestor, a family counselor has witnessed couples who are looking for QDRO to find a good Sacramento divorce attorney. He realizes that separation doesn't work and finding a divorce lawyer in Sacramento is the only option left. He works hard to see that couples resolve any differences before taking that final step.
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