Even though the state of Pennsylvania doesn’t recognize legal separation, you and your spouse can still separate without having to file for divorce.
When a marriage has landed on thin ice but the parties involved aren’t quite ready to commit to divorce, they will often obtain what is called a legal separation. While many states grant legal separations, Pennsylvania is not one of them. This means that there is no formal process a couple in Philadelphia can go through in order to legally separate.
But, before we get into the alternatives to a legal separation in Pennsylvania, let’s dive into what a legal separation actually is.
What is a legal separation?
The Legal Information Institute (LLI) defines a legal separation as “an arrangement where a married couple lives apart but remains legally married” (1). Generally, when a couple agrees to a legal separation, they must file the necessary documents with the court, which will then issue a court order that outlines the terms of the separation.
Although the state of Pennsylvania is not one to recognize legal separations, there are divorce lawyers who can outline some alternatives if you’re looking to formally cut ties with your spouse.
Why do people legally separate?
Aside from not wanting to go through with the divorce process (it can be stressful and costly), the LLI says that many parties choose to legally separate for religious reasons or to ensure they have access to health or life insurance benefits.
Also, when a couple decides to legally separate, they are able to settle issues like child custody, child support, and even alimony. Simply put, a legal separation is comparable to divorce, though the parties involved are technically still married on paper. Despite this, they can move on with their lives and date new people.
What is the alternative to a legal separation in Philadelphia?
Even though the state of Pennsylvania doesn’t recognize legal separation, you and your spouse can still separate without having to file for divorce. If the split is amicable and the two of you are willing to work out issues like custody, alimony, and child support, there are Philadelphia divorce lawyers who can help you draw up a separation agreement.
The separation agreement will outline the terms you and your spouse have agreed to, and there is the possibility that the court will enforce it should one decide to back out.
A divorce lawyer can answer any questions you might have about the process.
Because the state of Pennsylvania doesn’t recognize legal separation, you might consider filing for divorce. When doing so, it is recommended that you consult with a few Pennsylvania divorce lawyers to ensure you choose the right one.
USAttorneys.com understands the burdens divorce can bring on and is here to help make the process of finding divorce lawyers easier. In the event you have minor children involved and would like to have your concerns addressed by someone familiar with child custody law, USAttorneys.com can also help you find child custody lawyers in your area.
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