If a couple is considering divorce and would like to separate, there are several rules that must be followed in order for the separation to be valid. Some stipulations related to marital separation are designed to allow the couple to live apart for some time to decide if a reconciliation is possible.
Beginning the Separation
In order for a married couple to begin the separation, no legal documents are needed. One spouse simply needs to inform the other of his wish to live apart. After this, the couple can still be separated while living in the same home; they simply live as two separate entities, meaning they will no longer do things such as share meals together, sleep in the same bed or share transportation. Of course, once the separation begins, one spouse may choose to move out of the home that the couple share.
When a couple is sure they want to divorce, the next step is to see a lawyer to begin the process for a legal separation. During the separation, finances are divided between the couple, as well as the assets the two have gained during the marriage. The couple's debt is also split between the two parties as a result of legal separation, and arrangements are made regarding the custody of the children that the couple share. A separation agreement is drawn by a lawyer for the couple to sign once all the terms are agreed upon. A couple and two witnesses have to attest to the separation agreement.
Having a document that clearly states the terms of the separation will make getting a divorce a lot more affordable, since both parties will already be aware of the stipulations associated with ending the marriage. During a separation where one spouse moves out of the couple's home, the spouse that moves out should take her name off of the lease so that he will not be liable for payment should the spouse remaining in the home refuse to pay the rent or mortgage. It is also necessary for each spouse to review tax records for the previous six years in order to make sure there are no back taxes owed, as both parties will still be responsible for the debt.