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What is separation maintenance?

If you and your spouse split up in Nebraska, but you don't officially want to get divorced -- perhaps hoping that the situation will resolve itself in time -- things can get very complicated. Rather than just going your separate ways for a time, you may want to seek an official court order to turn the split into a legal separation. This move could help you get what is known as separation maintenance.

Essentially, separation maintenance is simply money paid from one spouse to the other to assist with the cost of living. If this sounds a lot like child support or spousal support, that's because it is very similar. The courts just give it a different name so that it's easier to distinguish between a legal separation and a divorce. The money given by the separation maintenance agreement is to be used in the same way that you would normally use child support money or spousal support money -- often called alimony.

The court uses this because it is an acknowledgement that the split could have a serious financial impact on one party, especially if that person does not work. If a couple takes the time to get a legal separation, it shows that things are not generally going to be resolved in short order. Though it's not a permanent split -- the couple could be apart for months -- and provisions need to be made so that both parties can make ends meet and, most importantly, so that children can be given a safe and healthy living situation.

If you think a legal separation makes more sense in your situation than a divorce, be sure you know exactly how it differs from a divorce and what rights you have.

Source: FindLaw, "Legal Separation vs. Divorce," accessed May. 21, 2015

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