To be considered “legally separated,” a court will issue a judgment to help manage the assets and custodial rights of a couple who are still married, but living separately. When a couple separates, many issues can arise during proceedings affecting custody of their children and the division of their shared property.
Property Rights and Legal Separations
During a separation, the courts must decide on the division of separate property and marital property. Separate property may include assets obtained prior to marriage, given as a gift, or inherited. Marital property is purchases made during the marriage. You and your spouse have the right to come to a mutual agreement over the division of your property. Otherwise, the court will divide marital property and any separate property that has been intertwined with marital property.
Custody During Separation
Both parents have the right to spend time with their children when going through a separation. In some cases, one parent may move out of the shared home while the other parent retains physical custody of the children. A visitation schedule may be arranged by the couple until court proceeding commence. One parent can never deny another parent the ability to visit with a child. In the meantime, either parent has the right to file a petition to request the court arrange a custody agreement. Emergency and temporary child custody agreements can be issued prior to separation proceedings.
Unmarried Couples Versus Married Spouses
In the case of an unmarried couple who separate, division of property is different. The division of property is not automatic and a lawsuit may need to be filed to decide entitlement. For instance, your shared home remains the property of the person listed on the deed in spite of any contributions you made toward the mortgage or household bills. Child custody arrangements and child support payments are usually not affected by whether a couple was legally married or not.