The Rules of Living Separately vs. Divorce

Posted on Wednesday, January 15th, 2020 by Marc Beyer and is filed under Divorce,  Life,  Rules.

Quite often when a divorce starts, husband and wife are still living together. Other times, though, they may have been living separately for many months.

And, whether or not a married couple has been living apart or together can often impact their expectations when a divorce does start.

If a married couple has physically separated, but not yet begun the divorce process, for example, there are no real rules that apply. They are at the collective mercy of what they can agree upon when it comes to issues like parenting time, managing household bills, and whether or not any money changes hands. There is no court looking over their shoulder to tell them if they are doing it right or wrong.

In this scenario, one spouse may have more of an upper hand. They call the shots, just like they may have throughout the marriage. They determine the parenting time schedule and how finances will be handled while living in separate households.

Eventually, that spouse will want to get divorced. Many times, spouses in that position fall into the trap of thinking that they will continue to “get their way,” and everything will be the same following divorce. They’ll just now have a piece of paper that says they are divorced.

But when divorce starts, the informal rules that may have been in place previously no longer apply. Now the laws of the State of Minnesota apply.

This can catch people by surprise. Child support is now determined by the formula from the statute. Custody and parenting time are now determined by what is in the best interest of the children, and not what is in the best interest of the dominant parent. Whether or not spousal maintenance is payable is determined by the statutory factors, and not simply by whether one spouse wants it and insists that they get it

This is not to say that the dominant spouse still won’t get their way in divorce negotiations, if the subservient spouse lets them. But transitioning from simply living separately to starting a divorce forces the parties to look at the end of their relationship through a different lens.

And sometimes they don’t like what they see.

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If you are facing divorce and any of the divorce-related issues such as spousal maintenance, child support, child custody, property division, or domestic abuse matters, you need our experienced Minneapolis divorce attorneys to help you. Contact Beyer & Simonson in Edina, Minnesota today at (952) 303-6007.