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How is “Separate Support” different from a legal separation in Massachusetts?

Separate Support is an action that you can file in Probate and Family Court whereby you’re not asking for a Judge to dissolve, end or suspend your marriage, but rather, simply ask that your spouse continue to provide financial support for the family.  The act of filing and getting a Separate Support judgment does not alter the terms, rights and responsibilities that would be associated with being married to your spouse.  You are still married unless and until you get a divorce.  Your divorce will not happen automatically simply because you filed for Separate Support.

Legal separation is something that exists in other states but in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, such a legal construction does not exist.  You simply cannot obtain a legal separation from your spouse.  You are either married or you are divorced.  There is no middle ground.  You could, of course, at any time, decide to separate from your spouse by moving out.  However, the act of living apart or moving out does little to alter the legal marriage.

If you are contemplating divorce or filing for separate support, call us today for a free phone consultation.