WHAT IS A LEGAL SEPARATION?
A legal separation is an arrangement ordered by the court in which a married couple separates and spends time apart. When a couple is unsure of the condition of their marriage but wants to determine how a divorce can affect each party financially, a legal separation can be requested. Pennsylvania does not recognize legal separations.
Other issues that they may need to work through, including the custody of children, the division of property, and alimony or child support, may also be addressed during a legal separation.
WHAT DOES A LEGAL AGREEMENT COVER?
MinorsA marriage requires consenting parties to be recognized by the state as adults. Therefore, should any party to the agreement be under 18 years without applicable consent exemptions, the marriage becomes voidable. However, should the minor reach the edge of 18 and freely choose to continue the course with the other party, the grounds for annulment become non-existent.
Polygamythe institute of marriage is recognized as an agreement between two parties. Where this fundamental principle is not applied, there are grounds for the annulment of the marriage. Bigamy may be appropriately placed under this category, which indicates that a marriage is void, should one of the parties already be married at the time of the contract. There are exclusions, however, where the violating party has no proof of life of the previous spouse, provided that the deserted person in the equation is the one attempting to become remarried. The deserting spouse, by nature of the separation, automatically creates a void contract upon attempting to remarry.
ForceConsent is a fundamental building block where marriage is concerned. There should be no doubt that the parties on both ends entered a willful contract. Should it be determined that forced consent created the circumstances that led to the marriage, then this is grounds for nullity. However, as is the case with a minor who has transitioned into legal adulthood, if the forced party should choose to freely remain in the marriage, then it can no longer be made void under the same principle.
DuressLike force, duress strips away the precedent of consent that would define the institution of marriage. Threats, violence, or any action or constraint that may cause someone to carry out an action against typical and arguably better judgment can fall under the category of duress. Should it be established that any form of duress was present in the decision of either party that led to the marriage, the contract is not recognized by the state of Pennsylvania.
FraudThe consent for marriage is legally expected to be obtained by informed means. Therefore, a marriage becomes voidable if delusion leads to a decision of acceptance on either side. However, the principle of free cohabitation remains here. If the defrauded party, after having become aware of the facts at hand, should choose to continue to have the other as a spouse, the marriage then becomes a valid one.
InsanityThe state of unsoundness of mind removes the ability to properly give consent. For a more precise definition, both parties need to understand the contract associated with the marriage and the associated obligations. If the mental state of either party were to prevent this natural proceeding, the principle of nullity may be applied to this marriage. However, an exemption is made for those who have come to reason and have chosen to continue to cohabitate with the selected spouse. On these grounds, the marriage can then become valid.
Physical IncapacityA physical expectation of marriage consummation is placed on either party in the agreement. Physical incapacity speaks to an incurable predicament that renders one spouse unable to fulfill this obligation. Under these circumstances, an annulment is allowed.
Several aspects are covered in a separation agreement. They are property, the custody of a child or children, and child support and alimony. It is important to note that a separation agreement does not finalize the separation of property or visitation rights in the formal way that these are done in a divorce proceeding.
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IS LEGAL SEPARATION RECOGNIZED IN PA?
According to Pennsylvania state law, a person can only be single, married, or divorced in the state of Pennsylvania. Still, there is currently no law allowing a person to be "legally separated." However, couples determined to try a separation before filing for a divorce can contact 999PAdivorce.com to have a separation agreement drawn up.
IS IT NECESSARY TO DETERMINE WHEN A SPOUSAL SEPARATION OCCURED?
Divorce is taken seriously in Pennsylvania. Courts must be convinced that the couple is not behaving like a married couple, which could cause a significant delay in divorce proceedings.
Determining a couple's actual separation date is essential for a variety of different reasons. An example is for identifying and evaluating assets owned individually and jointly during divorce proceedings.
When a married couple divorces in the state of Pennsylvania, it does not need to be a detachment, and a couple may be separated while still living under one roof and even in one bedroom. The most crucial aspect to consider is when the couple stopped acting like a married couple.
In all cases, however, the date on which one spouse decides to file for a divorce is the latest date on which the court considers the couple to have separated. The most significant element is determining when a couple no longer acts as husband and wife.
Before they can start to live apart, one spouse's motivation to dissolve the marriage must be clearly illustrated and conveyed to the other spouse. As a result, divorce can occur when one partner departs from the family home with no intention of ever returning or when a spouse expresses to the other their desire to leave the marriage.
A SEPARATION AGREEMENT
When a married couple decides to divorce, they encounter most of the same legal problems as divorcing couples, such as splitting property, covering daily expenses, and juggling the care of children.
One way to deal with such issues in Pennsylvania is to sign an agreement, also known as a "separation agreement," with your partner. This contract is legally binding to both parties, and it outlines the specific responsibilities and rights of each party.
Drawing up such an agreement must be done by a seasoned family law attorney who can advise a spouse on their legal options and draft this legal agreement on their behalf. 999PAdivorce.com is an experienced family law firm in Pennsylvania that can advise anyone considering this option.
Once the agreement has been drawn up, it can then be presented to the other spouse. They may either agree to all of these terms or make suggestions of their own. The terms of the agreement must be negotiated, so both parties can abide by them.
IS LEGAL SEPARATION RECOGNIZED IN PA?
At 999PAdivorce.com, we understand that the process of divorce and separation is an emotional and sensitive one, which is why we approach each case with the respect it requires.
Our team is efficient and professional and is there to make the process as painless and bearable as possible. Contact us today for more information on how to draw up a separation agreement in the state of Pennsylvania.