Sometimes a couple in Kentucky determines that they cannot live together, but for various personal reasons they may not be ready to divorce.
One option is for couples in such a situation is to get a legal separation. To do so, a petition for legal separation needs to be filed with the court. It must state why the spouses can no longer live together. In addition, at least one spouse must have residency in Kentucky for half a year before the petition is filed, as well as residency in the county in which the petition is filed.
A legal separation is different than a divorce. In a divorce, a legal proceeding is held that officially terminates a couple's marriage. However, during a legal separation, the couple remains married even though they are not living together. Like a divorce, a spouse can move the court to make various temporary rulings regarding property division, child support, child custody and visitation rights. If necessary a spouse can also move the court for a protective order.
A couple in Kentucky can be legally separated for up to 12 months. After that, if one spouse petitions for a divorce, the separation decree will be changed into a decree for divorce. Of course, a couple can decide to end their legal separation, and either divorce or get back together before the 12 months is up.
Sometimes a legal separation is needed for couples to safely work out their issues. However, in some cases couples decide that divorce is their best option. Depending on the circumstances, if a couple is legally separated before a divorce, they may have some of their divorce issues ironed out, which could ease the divorce process. This could be especially useful for a high asset divorce, when couples face complex asset division decisions.