When can a petition for separation be filed?
In the event of the complete marital breakdown, each spouse reserves the right to file a petition for separation. Unlike in the case of divorce, in the case of separation the spouses need to demonstrate before the court that the marital breakdown occurring between them is complete i.e. no physical, emotional and economic bonds exist, without proving that such breakdown is permanent i.e. that their marriage cannot be restored. Just like in the case of divorce, in the course of separation proceedings, the court either determines which spouse is to be blamed for the breakdown, or such guilt is not adjudicated upon mutual request of the parties. If one of the spouses has filed a petition for separation and the other has demanded divorce and demonstrated that his/her claim has been substantiated, the court will pronounce the divorce.
What are the consequences of legal separation?
In principle, separation has similar consequences as those of a divorce, except that spouses may not contract another marriage. Moreover, in the case of separation, both spouses are obliged to provide each other mutual support, pursuant to the rule of equity, taking into consideration the financial standing of each spouse and their guilt for the marital breakdown. As opposed to divorce, in the case of separation, mutual obligation to provide maintenance does not expire after five years and continues throughout the entire separation period.
Separation, just like divorce, results in the abolishment of the marital property regime.
A separated couple may file a joint request for reversal of marital separation, if their conjugal life has been reassumed. However, in opposite case, when during separation the marital breakdown has become permanent, each spouse will reserve the right to file a petition for divorce.
When can separation be adjudicated?
Legal separation is frequently adjudicated when the spouses still have not decided to proceed with the divorce and need some time to reconsider their situation or save their relationship but in the circumstances resembling cancellation of the marriage. Sometimes spouses decide to file a petition for separation due to their religious convictions. One of benefits of legal separation is that the spouses are given the possibility of reinstating their marriage by filing their joint requests. If relations between the separated spouses improve, the court will lift the separation upon their joint petition in the non-litigious mode, and the consequences of separation will cease to exist.
It should also be noted that the petition for legal separation is considered very fast if the spouses do not have minor children, and have jointly demanded separation.
Legal separation can also be adjudicated by the court if such option is requested by the non-guilty spouse in the course of divorce proceedings with the other spouse who is solely responsible for the breakdown of marriage, and is not contrary to the social coexistence principles.
Legal separation vs. division of property
Since legal separation, as opposed to informal one, means that the marital property regime ceases to exist between spouses, so once the separation decree has become final the parties may file a petition for a division of property. Separation also has important consequences in the sphere of inheritance law, as it excludes the possibility to inherit from the other spouse, and to demand the legitim.
Our lawyers help clients to file petitions for legal separation, provide legal advice and represent them in the course of legal separation proceedings. Should you require any legal advice on legal separation or have any questions concerning legal representation, please arrange an appointment with one of your lawyers. In order to make an appointment please call us from 8.30 AM to 6.00 PM.