Common Questions about Separation in PennsylvaniaPublished: Apr 02, 2018 in Separation
Written by Anthony Piccirilli
Do you and your spouse want to take some time apart, but you aren’t sure how you go about doing it? Who will live in the house, take care of the kids, or pay the shared bills? Getting a separation in Pennsylvania can be confusing, but the answers to the questions below may offer a little guidance.
Pennsylvania Separation FAQ
There are many factors to consider when you’re thinking about separation in Pennsylvania. While the list below is not all-encompassing, it provides basic information for some of the most frequently asked questions people have when considering separation.
Do I need to have a separation agreement to be officially separated from my spouse?
You do not have to make your separation official, but you may want to do so. A formal separation agreement allows you and your spouse to lay out terms regarding where you each will live, who will have primary custody of the children, and who will be paying support. Having all of this information in writing makes it legally binding. Simply providing oral promises to each other does not.
Can I receive spousal support if I’m separated?
You do not have to be divorcing to seek spousal support; a spouse may make a request for support while separated. Typically, the spouse who earns more money will be ordered to pay the spouse who earns less money. The amount is calculated according to the state’s support guidelines.
Can I receive child support if I’m separated?
The parent who has the primary residence for the kids may request child support, whether they are divorcing or separating. Pennsylvania’s child support calculations are available on their support guidelines worksheet.
Can my spouse and I divide our marital property if we’re not divorced?
Yes. You can divide your marital property and use your separation agreement to legally record who gets what.
Will the court be able to modify our separation agreement?
The court generally does not feel the need to intervene with the agreement. Since it is a contract entered into by two adults who agreed to all the terms, there is little need to involve the court. If, however, you include your separation agreement in a court decree, the court has the ability to modify certain terms if it sees the need.
What can I do if my spouse does not obey the terms of the agreement?
Your separation agreement is a binding contract, so you’re unable to get a court order against your spouse. You can, however, sue them for breach of contract.
Who can help me draft a separation agreement?
It’s a good idea to ask a lawyer to help you draft this document. A lawyer who is well-versed in separation terms will be able to consider all possible points you should cover in the agreement and produce a document upon which both parties can agree.
Get Help with Your Separation in PA
Your separation agreement, if done properly, can dictate important points about support, asset division, child custody, and marital debts. That way, you and your spouse can maintain a civil separation while you decide what you want to do next. If you have questions, or you’re ready to create an agreement, call Pittsburgh Divorce & Family Law, LLC at (412) 471-5100, or contact us online to schedule an appointment.