Not all marriages last, even though we always dream of a happy-ever-after relationship. As sad as it sounds, a partner may consider legal separation as an ideal option. But is it truly an option worth considering? Let’s find out more in this guide. Some states like South Carolina do not recognize legal separation officially, which implies that both partners are still legally married pending a divorce decree.
During a period of legal separation, either spouse can not marry anyone else, as that would be bigamy. So, while you and your partner wait to finalize the divorce, filing an action for an Order of Separate Maintenance and Support provides a temporary solution for both individuals.
Is There a Difference Between Divorce And Legal Separation?
Separation does not equate divorce. In the meantime, a temporary maintenance order helps take care of issues like child custody and necessary financial arrangements pending when the judge signs the divorce decree. Most importantly, both partners are not permitted to remarry during this period. Also, there are certain limitations like property acquisition or long-distance travels and relocations.
As soon as the divorce is concluded and assets are divided accordingly, each person can move on with their life, freely. A spouse can decide to remarry or relocate to a different state or country.
Legal Separation in South Carolina
If you are wondering what is considered legal separation in South Carolina?, the term itself is not officially recognized by the state laws. However, many people use this term when they refer to a year-period of separation between two spouses prior to obtaining a no-fault divorce. You can find this in the South Carolina Code of Laws Section 20-3-10.
Partners undergoing a separation period must stay in different apartments for a year. “How about living under the same roof, but in different bedrooms?” you may ask. This is not permitted under legal separation, and doing so can lead to a denial of divorce.
Legal Separation Process
The separation process commences as soon as both partners decide to stop living together. Other ways include a restraining order or a partner leaving. As long as there is evidence showing that both parties have lived separately for a year, they can proceed with a divorce.
Either spouse can file for an Order of Separate Maintenance and Support, after which they have to agree on the terms of the decree. Whereby there is no agreement, the judge will decide the resulting terms.
Is It Important to Get a Legal Separation in South Carolina?
To get a “no-fault” divorce in South Carolina, both spouses must have lived separately for a year. A Decree of Sperate Maintenance and Support is not mandatory. However, it helps with decisions regarding factors like child support, child custody issues, spousal support, and finances.
Does Legal Separation Allow Dating?
Legal separation does not overrule the fact that both partners are still legally married pending when the divorce is finalized. This implies that either spouse can not engage in a romantic relationship with someone else during this period.
Should a partner have sexual intercourse with someone else during a legal separation, it is still regarded as adultery and can be used as evidence for a fault-based divorce, which will ruin the defaulter’s eligibility for alimony.
Having a legal separation lawyer will not only help you understand various terms and conditions for legal separation but also help you make the right decision for your future and that of your family.