Separate Maintenance and Support
What happens when you are living separate and apart but do not have grounds for a divorce? You file a Separate Support and Maintenance action. A Separate Support and Maintenance Action is governed by the same rules as divorce. In other words, all the issues that could be resolved in a divorce – custody, visitation, child support, alimony, division of assets – can be resolved in a Separate Maintenance and Support Action. The one major difference is that at the end of the action, you are still married.
The good news is that once you’ve been separated for a year, you can file for a divorce and the agreement you reached during your Separate Support and Maintenance action will be incorporated into the divorce decree. Thus, you do not have to go through two separate proceedings regarding the same exact issues. The issues resolved during the Separate Support and Maintenance Action will simplify your eventual divorce.