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Call us today for an initial consultation:

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Due to precautions related to COVID-19, we have expanded our options for remote consultations. Please contact our office to discuss whether a full phone consultation or video conferencing via Zoom is appropriate for your situation. Click here to access Zoom.
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Can legal separation substitute for divorce in Pennsylvania?

On Behalf of | Oct 11, 2021 | Divorce

There are many people in the Harrisburg area who may not want to go through a divorce even though they are living and wish to continue living apart from their spouses.

There are many reasons for wanting to take this approach. Some people have serious moral or religious concerns about divorce.

Others may just not be emotionally ready for that step or may worry about their children’s feelings. Still others may have financial, professional or other reasons to remain legally married.

In Pennsylvania, basically, a legal separation refers to the date in which a married couple permanently splits so that each spouse maintains a separate home.  Among other things, the date of legal separation is used to determine eligibility for a divorce in certain cases.

A legal separation is not a substitute process for divorce in Pennsylvania. If a person needs a court to intervene on issues like child custody, property division or other important family law matters, he or she will have to get a divorce.

A separation agreement is an option for couples who want to stay legally married

However, if both sides agree, they can prepare what is commonly called a separation agreement.

The separation agreement should specify how the couple will divide property and debts upon taking up their separate lives and may also set out parameters for child support, custody and the like.

Despite the agreement, a couple will remain legally married, although either side is free to file for divorce if eligible to do so.

A Pennsylvania court does have the authority to enforce these agreements much like it would a divorce decree. However, parents should be aware that a court can modify agreements about child custody and support in certain circumstances.

A separation agreement is not workable in every case. However, it may be a legal option that a Harrisburg resident would want to consider for a number of reasons.

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