Separation Before Divorce How Long do you Have to be Separated Before You are Legally Divorced?

The length of time you need to be separated before a judge grants you a divorce varies from state to state and is dependant on circumstances surrounding your divorce. Some states such as Nevada, may allow you to get a no-fault divorce with as little as a six week separation period whereas some states typically have a minimum of at least 12 months separation before a judge is allowed to grant a married couple a divorce.

Divorce laws vary from state to state. If you have questions or need legal advice about the length of time you and your spouse need to be separated to be eligible for a divorce, or if you have other questions about getting a divorce, it is important to ask a lawyer who is licensed to help people with their divorces in the state in which you are planning to file your divorce.  

Separation Before Divorce

A separation before a divorce is a time period where the spouses are no longer living as a married couple. Many people do in fact have one spouse move out of the home they had been sharing as a married couple when they decide to separate but there are situations and circumstances where a couple can reside in the same home together while the courts recognize them as, “separated.”

Some states do not require a couple to take up separate residences to begin their separation period but all marital relations must cease and essentially, a separated couple can live under the same roof as long as they are living as housemates and not as a married couple. The two spouses must maintain separate bedrooms and confine their contact to common areas of the home, such as a kitchen or if there is only one bathroom, the bathroom, etc. In these situations, the separated couple should not eat meals together or use the bathroom at the same time, etc.

If a spouse physically moves out of the couple’s home, the separation period begins at this time.

If a divorcing couple is allowed to remain in the same home during the separation period, the separation begins on the day that they stopped living as husband and wife and began to live as roommates without any marital relations. If a couple reconciles during their separation period, even if it is just for one night or a few hours, most states require that the separation period start from the beginning.

Fault or No-Fault Divorce

All 50 U.S. states now allow for no-fault divorces but many of them have different requirements for the amount of time a couple needs to be separated before they will grant them a divorce.

A few states allow for a fault divorce. The amount of time a couple is required to be separated differs than for no-fault divorces but once again, the amount of time required differs from state to state and is dependent on individual circumstances.

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