Atlanta Legal Separation: The Atlanta Family Law News Blog

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Legal Separation in Atlanta

A legal separation occurs when a husband and wife live separately but are not divorced. In this time, the spouses pay support and make an arrangement for custody and visitation. If they can’t do this privately, a court may give an order. A legal separation is not the same as divorce. A legal separation recognizes the possibility that a couple might reunite. People that are legally separated cannot remarry other people. They must wait until their divorce becomes final before remarrying.

One of the important elements of a legal separation is that during this time, a couple does not accumulate community or marital property. The property acquired after the legal separation will be considered non-marital property. Many couples end up using legal separation as a precursor to divorce, or as an opportunity to re-evaluate their marriage before reconciling. It is advisable to retain an Atlanta Family Law attorney through this challenging time.


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Is Legal Separation a Good Alternative to Divorce?

Traditionally, the only legal alternative to getting a divorce was to stay married, with the illegal option being "find a way to get rid of your spouse." But more couples these days are choosing legal separation instead.

That means those couples are still officially married in the eyes of the law. But in day to day life, they aren't really together anymore.

Is that the right choice for you? It's hard to say, although your attorney might be able to give you better advice. What we can offer is some things to think about. For example:

This week, Danny DeVito and Rhea Perlman announced that they’ve separated after 30 years of marriage. While for most couples separation is just a step on the way to divorce, for others it’s a long-term solution.

In a separation, the spouses remain married, but usually live apart. You can formalize a separation by obtaining a decree of separate maintenance and court orders for child custody, visitation, or property division if applicable. But why choose a legal separation over divorce?

After 30 years of marriage, it looks like Danny DeVito and Rhea Perlman are calling it quits.

DeVito's publicist has announced that the couple is separating, Newsday reports. DeVito and Perlman married back in 1982 and have three adult children together.

Till Divorce Do You Part? Not So Fast

A new study finds that post-divorce marital reconciliation is on the rise, reports the Huffington Post. That’s right, many people that get divorced, remain open to getting back together with their spouse, particularly if there are children involved.

The study about post-divorce marital reconciliation came out of the University of Minnesota. It surveyed nearly 2500 divorcing couples with children and asked them if they wanted to try and reconcile. The study found that either one or both partners in about 45 percent of couples indicated they could try and save the marriage and reconcile. Men were found to be more willing to say their marriage could be saved and more willing to try a professional marital reconciliation service. The gender numbers came out to 1 out of 3 men, and 1 out of 5 women.

Former "Friends" star Courteney Cox and David Arquette have announced their legal separation but aren't yet planning to get divorced, according to a Yahoo News article citing the couple's joint statement to fans and reporters. They have been married for 11 years.

The two met on the set of the comedy/horror film "Scream" in 1995, got engaged three years later and finally got hitched in 1999. David Arquette and Courteney Cox explained in their joint statement that they need time and space "to better understand ourselves and the qualities we need in a partner."

A New York Times article republished by MSNBC explores the motivations behind some unhappily wed couples' decisions to skip the divorce. Call it the "un-divorce" or the "permanent separation," some separated couples still enjoy the benefits of marriage without the emotional trappings of the actual relationship.

It's not for everyone, and Atlanta divorce lawyers will continue to see a steady stream of clients, some couples simply see no need for the costly and time-consuming process of legally dissolving a marriage.     

NeNe Leakes, star of reality series "The Real Housewives of Atlanta," was spotted at a recent event in Los Angeles without her wedding ring, according to RadarOnline. An unnamed source told the celebrity gossip site that they're no longer an item, even if they're still legally married:

"Greg has indicated that he might want some alimony payments from her should they get divorced, so the situation could get really messy. As yet neither party has filed any divorce papers - NeNe just thinks her time with Greg has come to an end."

But if and when the two parties decide to "lawyer-up" with Atlanta divorce lawyers, according to the source, the former stripper is worried he may tout skeletons from her closet. She also has been spotted with alleged new flame Charles Grant, a football star she may or may not have been having an affair with before the public split.

Former Columbia County sheriff's deputy Gregory Key Kernaghan was arrested and charged with stalking estranged wife Stephanie Kernaghan, from whom he had been separated, according to the local ABC affiliate. The felony aggravated stalking charges carries the possibility of prison time, if he is convicted.

He was arrested after stalking the house jointly owned by Stephanie Kernaghan and himself, a violation of a condition of his bond stemming from a similar, prior stalking arrest.

Sheriff's Captain Steve Morris told reporters that Gregory Kernaghan tried to contact his estranged wife directly and through a third party. A complaint filed by Stephanie Kernaghan, which resulted in the first stalking charge, indicated he had called her as many as 20 times per day.

Just one week after former Vice President Al Gore and wife Tipper Gore announced their intention to get divorced, daughter Karenna Gore Schiff has separated from husband Drew Schiff after 12 years of marriage, as reported by People Magazine.

That makes the third Gore separation or divorce in about a year, according to a Babble.com blog entry. Al and Tipper Gore's daughter Kristin Gore called it quits this time last year after just four years of marriage.

There is no legal requirement for separation prior to divorce in the Peach State, as a Georgia family law attorney would tell you. Some other states require a separation period of about six months before courts will grant a divorce.

Former U.S. Senator and Vice President Al Gore and wife Tipper Gore have announced their plans to get legally separated after 40 years of marriage, according to the Washington Post. The couple, who met in high school, sent a jointly penned email to friends announcing the news:

"This is very much a mutual and mutually supportive decision that we have made together following a process of long and careful consideration."

Marital stress often goes hand-in-glove with politics, but close family friend Chris Downey told reporters that he was "beyond shocked," that he never would have expected this. The email to friends made it clear the couple wants to keep the matter as private as possible.