Legal Separation in Pennsylvania
By: Melissa Towsey, Esquire
The terms “legal separation” do not exist in Pennsylvania family law. The concept of a “date of separation”, however, is an important date for purposes of equitable distribution (dividing your assets) and triggering various filing deadlines. The date of separation is important in determining when the divorce can be entered and which assets and debts are to be categorized as marital and subjected to equitable distribution.
The date of separation can be defined several ways. It is most often marked by filing a divorce complaint or moving out the martial residence. However, sometimes parties can be separated while still residing in the same household. There are several factors the court may consider when defining the date of separation. Some factors to consider include but are not limited to:
– When intimate marital relations between the parties cease;
– The parties separate joint financial accounts;
– You and your spouse stop going out in public (to dinners, family events, etc.) as a couple. A good question to ask yourself is “would my five closest friends or family members say that my marriage is in trouble?”
These factors are not everything the court may consider and you do not have to have met all of them to be separated while living in the same house. This is a factor-based tested used by courts when the date of separation is sometime before the filing of a divorce complaint or when one party moves from the marital residence.
To schedule an appointment with one of our attorney’s, or for further information, call us at LaMonaca Law, at (610) 892-3877.