Many married couples may be living together while separated, when in reality they are leading separate lives. In a growing trend, particularly among long-married couples, some husbands and wives do not move on even when the marriage is over.
Their reasons for not getting divorced may include:
- One or both of the spouses may not be emotionally ready to formally and permanently call it quits
- There may be hopes of reconciliation
- They may want to continue living together for the children, sometimes after the kids have started college and beyond
- Not knowing what to expect during the divorce process
- Fears of the unknown when it comes to life after divorce
- And, in many cases, one or both spouses cannot afford to live on their own or maintain their current lifestyle.
There are a number of reasons why couples may delay divorce, but it is important to understand that, in many states:
- couples must live apart physically for a specified period of time before they can begin divorce proceedings
- Until the legal process begins, spouses are liable for the other’s debts and the division of marital assets will be delayed, both of which can be financially disadvantageous
- If there are child custody concerns, continuing to reside with your spouse under the same roof with the children despite the fact your leading ‘separate lives’ may factor into a child custody determination when you are ready to move on
Contact a Waukesha Legal Separation Divorce Lawyer
It is important to protect yourself financially if you are considering divorce now or in the future. The first step is to get the information you need. If you have questions regarding legal separation or divorce in Wisconsin, contact the Family Law attorneys of Probst Law Offices for a free consultation at 414-210-3135.
Many clients have questions regarding legal separation or even annulment as alternatives to a divorce.
Legal Separation of Marriage
If you and your spouse are uncertain about divorce, you may want to consider a legal separation. Sometimes a trial separation provides couples considering divorce time and space to decide whether a divorce is the right decision. For many, it is hard to imagine what life will be like after divorcing a spouse, so a legal separation may provide needed clarity.
If you are considering a separation of more than a few months, it is important to protect yourself financially. It is highly recommended that you consult with an experienced divorce lawyer to draft a legally binding separation agreement that spells out the terms under which you will live apart while still married. This may include issues such as:
- Provisions for spousal support
- Child support and child custody
- Property division while separated
- How expenses and debts will be paid
A legal separation agreement addressing these issues and more is absolutely in your best interests to avoid financial problems in the future should you divorce.
Keep in mind that even if one spouse hopes to reconcile the marriage, the other may have other intentions. Make sure that you gather financial documents from the marital home before you separate and consider closing joint accounts so you are not liable for debts accrued during the period of separation.
If the marriage is truly over, it is recommended that you convert your legal separation into a divorce. If you decide to remain married, you may dismiss the judgement of legal separation.
What about a Wisconsin Annulment of Marriage?
An annulment is different from a legal separation and a divorce as it is a determination by the court voiding the marriage as if it never existed. A marriage can be voided under certain circumstances such as:
- One or both of the parties to the marriage were already married at the time of the marriage
- Either you or your spouse or both were too young to be married
- You and your spouse are close blood relatives
- The influence of drugs or alcohol factored into getting married
- Mental incompetence
- Unable to consummate marriage
Contact an Experienced Waukesha Family Law Attorney for Help
An experienced divorce lawyer can help you determine if an annulment is possible in your unique circumstances. Whether you decide to divorce, obtain a legal separation or annulment, it is important to seek the help of a knowledgeable divorce attorney to protect your interests. Contact the Waukesha and Milwaukee area family law attorneys of Probst Law Offices, S.C., for answers at 414-210-3135.