What is a Legal Separation?
When things go wrong in a marriage many individuals may believe that divorce is the only option. However, legal separation is an alternative option to a divorce in Idaho.
What is a legal separation? I.C. § 32-704(2) is the statutory basis for legal separation and sets forth that a decree of legal separation can include provisions providing for custody of children, division of property, payment of debts, payment of child support, and payment of spousal support as set forth in the statues governing domestic relations.
Legal separation may be an option for you if you are unsure about divorce, and it can always be followed up with a divorce that typically will simply follow the terms set forth in the separation order.
The Benefits of Legal Separation:
• Enables a couple to live separately but still remain married
• Religious beliefs may be against divorce
• Offers space and time for possible reconciliation
Division of Property
As with divorce, in a legal separation the marital property is divided. Idaho is a community property state, which means that the property acquired during marriage that is not separate property will be equitably divided.
Payments of Child/Spousal Support & Custody of Child
Even though in a legal separation a couple is still married, they are living apart meaning, spousal support (also known as alimony) can be awarded to the individual who has shown a need for such support. As a result of living separate child custody support must also be determined, and is generally calculated pursuant to the Idaho Child Support Guidelines. Finally, if the parties cannot agree on a custody schedule then the court will make a determination based on the factors set forth in I.C. § 32-717. However, if the parties can agree on the custody schedule then the court will enter the agreed schedule into the separation order.