Technically, there is no such thing as a legal separation in Chester County. Being separated is not considered a status, like being single, married, or a widow(er). However, living as two separate entities instead of a couple can be useful in a West Chester no-fault divorce proceeding.
While you do not have to file for separation with the court, it is important to have some form of documentation of when you separated from your partner. This makes it easier to determine assets and debts obtained individually that should not be included in the division of property.
One of the most effective ways to document your separation, especially with the intention of a no-fault divorce at a later date, is to draw up a separation agreement. This legally binding document outlines how you and your partner intend to live separately, even including a list of details to be decided at the time of divorce.
Below are some of the most common courses of action outlined in a legal separation in Chester County.
Division of property – A separation agreement can allow the party to take furniture from the marital home and indicate whether or not it will be a permanent arrangement. The document can also state that this removal of items is not to be misconstrued as a division of property.
Support – A Pennsylvania separation agreement can also outline child support and spousal support. Usually these specific arrangements only last through the period of separation and indicate that other decisions about support will be made during a divorce hearing. It is wise to outline support in a separation agreement because the dependent spouse or primary child custodian will know he or she is going to receive the financial assistance that is due.
Custody – Along with child support, child custody arrangements can be reached in a separation agreement. This can outline who will be the primary custodian and the partial custodian during the time of separation. This can also be used to detail a schedule for visitation.
Talking with a Chester County divorce lawyer is essential during these proceedings. You need to ensure you are being treated fairly and that a separation agreement takes your interests into consideration. For more about separation in Chester County or West Chester, contact us at 888-698-1787 or email us.