Pennsylvania has a separation requirement for those seeking divorces, but the state does not require approval for a separation, which means the responsibility is on each couple to establish their separation date. A separation period is meant to be a breathing period for couples to take time apart to think about their issues and to seek clarity on the future of their marriage. The first thing separated couples need to do is create a separation agreement, which is a civil contract that outlines financial and custodial issues during the separation period. It also, much like a divorce agreement, take a first step towards creating financial independence for each spouse.
During separation, one spouse typically leaves the marital home. Those expenses should be discussed, too. But, what about the spouses who can’t afford to establish a new household during their separation period? How do you establish a separation date? How do you prove you’re separated when you and your spouse are still cohabitating? Pennsylvania allows couples to complete their separation period while living in the same home, but there are some difficulties to establishing a separation date if you aren’t firm about creating new boundaries with your spouse.
So, if you’re still living with your estranged spouse to save money, you need to make a concerted effort to prove you are separated. Open your calendar or planner and mark the date you started the separation, and while the court is not looking for one specific factor or action to prove separation, you need to refrain from couple activities and actions, like:
- Joint Taxes: Don’t file your taxes together once you have separated. Even if it will save you money, it’s not worth the inconsistent message it portrays of your relationship with your spouse.
- Sleep Together: You shouldn’t sleep in the same bed or have sex. It’s confusing for your relationship, and it doesn’t portray a couple who wants to divorce.
- Family Vacations: Once you’re separated, you should start creating your own memories and circle of friends.
- Social Outings: Regardless of the reason, you and your spouse could be amicable and have a great relationship aside from no longer wanting to be married. But, it’s not a good idea to go on a date or to social events and parties as each other’s plus one. It sends the wrong message.
- Making Future Plans: Maybe you share a child, maybe you have similar hobbies, no matter the reason, you shouldn’t make plans to travel together with kids or not. Doing family things
If you live in the same home as your spouse, but you have refrained from all or most of the above, the court is likely to agree that you’ve been separated.
Thoughtful and Considerate Representation from Cairns Law Group
You can qualify for an amicable divorce after your separation from a spouse you live with as long as you make smart choices and create boundaries with your estranged spouse. When you’ve completed your separation period, the lawyers at Cairn Law Group can answer any questions you may have about our $219 uncontested online divorce. We can also help you negotiate the terms of your settlement today. Call us today at (888) 863-9115 to schedule a consultation or use our online contact form to request more information.