As a marriage evolves, spouses tend to reflect on their lives. Sometimes, a husband and wife decide that changes needs to be made. In Family Law, this typically involves the decision to leave your significant other. And most times, it doesn't mean that someone is marching down to the nearest Superior Court and filing for divorce. Setting aside the emotional aspects, we usually field calls with questions of the legality of separating from their spouse because there is an important distinctino between a legal separation and emotional separation.
If you didn't know, slavery is illegal here in Washington. There is no law that requires one spouse to live with the other. If you decide to move out, that is your decision. With that in mind, just because you leave the familial home, doesn't mean that your legally separated from your husband or wife. The impact of this emotional decision is merely legal fiction; a date in which the court assigns as the official end of a marriage. This is necessary in order equitably divide assets and debts.
By going to court, you receive an official, legal separation. This decree that serves like a divorce as far as assets are concerned, but technically the spouses are still married. In the past, legal separations have been used for religious reasons. Nowaday, however, the decree is used to keep a spouse on health insurance until the time is right. Whether you would like an emotional separation, a legal separation, or a divorce, at Magnuson Lowell, we can point you in the right path for your Family Law concerns.