Legal separation, also known as an action for separate maintenance, is an action available to married parties who wish to live separate. Legal separation is often desirable for parties who are unsure whether they wish to obtain a legal divorce. Arkansas law and public policy favor the resumption of marital relations. Accordingly, in an action for separate maintenance, it is unnecessary for either party to establish grounds or fault.
After filing for legal separation, a temporary order, or a temporary legal separation agreement, will need to be entered with the court. A temporary order or agreement details how you and your spouse will handle your affairs until the time that a final decree of divorce is granted or until you and your spouse dismiss the legal separation action with the court. A temporary order usually addresses the following issues: temporary possession of marital property; temporary responsibility for debts and marital liabilities; temporary spousal; and temporary custody/visitation and child support if you have children.
If the legal separation exceeds 18 months, either party may seek a divorce without alleging specific grounds for divorce. In other words, you and your spouse are entitled to a divorce if you have lived separate and apart for 18 continuous months without cohabitation.
If you are considering legal separation, contact M.W. Law, PLLC to schedule a consultation today to discuss whether legal separation is a viable option for you and your spouse.