What Is Separate Maintenance in West Virginia Family Court?

Today, we are discussing separate maintenance under West Virginia law. One of the things that you can do is actually get all the issues that are typically involved in a divorce case and resolve it with what we call a separate maintenance. In general terms, this is known as a legal separation. What this means is that every single thing that could be handled within a divorce is going to be handled in a legal separation or separate maintenance case. However, you stay married. For example, when it comes to property division or alimony, child custody and child support, all of those things can be handled within the action if it’s for separate maintenance.

Sometimes what happens is people start the divorce process and they decide that they want a legal separation since that option is available. Now, one of the reasons why you would want to sometimes go forward with a legal separation as opposed to a divorce is for purposes of health insurance. Let’s say that one person wants to remain on the other person’s health insurance or they need to remain on it for whatever reason. It can be that they otherwise wouldn’t have access to any kind of health insurance or it would be prohibitively expensive. Sometimes it’s a case where people just want to live separate and apart and they’re older, let’s say close to 60 or 70 years old.

They want to go their separate ways, but for one reason or another, they want to remain married. It could be that the one spouse is not yet eligible for Medicare. Maybe they haven’t reached the appropriate age for that. Sometimes what people will do is they will go and get a legal separation and they’ll resolve all the issues completely. The only thing left after the separation is just the divorce. Those are just some of the reasons why people might do it.

The bottom line is that everything can be decided within a separate maintenance, even though you’re not going to get divorced. All of those issues are going to be considered resolved. Of course, they’re always subject to modification. However, those things, things as far as the court is concerned, are going to be considered to be resolved going forward. At some point in the future if you choose to, then you can file for a divorce. Just remember, if you don’t have a fault based grounds for divorce and you haven’t been separated for a year, then the only grounds is irreconcilable differences and both people have to admit to it. That can potentially pose an issue as well. Just think about which option may be a right fit for you when it comes to your future separation or West Virginia divorce.Pritt+Feb+CTA+%281%29.jpg