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Bristol County Separation Attorney
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Not everyone is ready to jump straight into divorce when the going gets tough. If you want some time apart to collect your thoughts about whether you want to move forward with a divorce or attempt to reconcile with your partner, you can request a separate support action in Massachusetts.
The Law Offices of Rachel M. Matos can help you petition for legal separation and make sure your spousal and parental rights are not being infringed upon during the period of separation.
Learn more about what a separate support action does and how you can file for one in Bristol County. Reach out to the Law Offices of Rachel M. Matos to get started.
Can Spouses Separate Without Divorcing?
While many states offer “legal separation” as an alternative to divorce, Massachusetts does not. However, spouses in the state may seek an action for “separate support” to live apart from one another prior to divorce. Married couples may live apart without the court’s approval, though one reason they may seek a court-ordered separate support action is so the court can help implement a scheme for child support, parenting plans, and alimony during that separation period.
Any spouse may file for support if:
- their partner has failed to support them;
- their spouse has deserted them;
- both spouses are living separately for a “justifiable cause”; or
- both spouses have a “justifiable cause” to live apart.
Filing for Separate Support
To file a request for separate support, the petitioner must be a resident in the state, living apart from their spouse, and have a justifiable legal reason for the request. Once the court has approved the request, they will create a parenting plan, child support orders, and spousal support orders during the legal process for separate support. The court can also decide which spouse may reside in the marital home during the separation, but concrete property division matters may only be handled in a divorce.
During the separate support hearing, the spouses will agree to a separation agreement. This is a legal contract between the spouses that specifies certain provisions they must follow during their separation. Both spouses must sign the separation agreement and present it to the court for approval if it is fair and reasonable to both parties.
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Separate support is like the trial period before a divorce. It’s a middle ground that allows both you and your spouse to live separately without the constraints of your everyday marital routine. If you have minor children, the process may be a little harder, as you must determine who gets to spend time with the children and how you will both support them. Separate support actions offered by Massachusetts will take care of that legal ground. It is best to work with an attorney during this process, as separate support actions can decide things like custody and child support.
Contact the Law Offices of Rachel M. Matos for an initial consultation to discuss your case with a legal professional.