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What rights does one have if they have separated before divorce?

Some couples in Nevada in a troubled marriage may decide to undergo a separation period before deciding whether or not to divorce. For example, they may simply need some space and time to evaluate their marriage to determine if it can be saved before throwing in the towel. That being said, it is important for couples who have separated to understand how the separation will affect their rights.

What kind of separation a spouse is undergoing will determine what rights they have. First, let's look at a legal separation. It is important to note that couples who have legally separated per a court order, but who have not divorced, are still technically married. However, certain divorce issues can be addressed in a legal separation. For example, the court can award a party spousal support or child support. It can also address property division.

In a trial separation, a couple is living apart while they are still contemplating whether to go through with a divorce. A trial separation is not the same as a court-ordered legal separation. There is no enforceable order regarding property division or other divorce legal issues. Moreover, since the parties are still married, any assets they obtain during the trial separation are likely to be considered marital assets. State law dictates whether the status of that property changes if a spouse files for divorce following a trial separation.

Finally, some couples stop living together and have no plans to stay married. Also, depending on the state a couple may have to stop living together for a certain period of time before they can file for a no-fault divorce. State law dictates how the assets each spouse obtains while living separately will be treated, given the that parties' intention is to ultimately divorce.

As this shows, when it comes to property rights and other divorce issues, what type of separation a couple is pursuing matters. Couples in Nevada who have separated and have questions about their family law rights should seek the help they need to better understand their options.

Source: FindLaw, "Legal Separation vs. Divorce," Feb. 12, 2018

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