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What is separate support?

Married individuals in Massachusetts who feel their spouse is not supporting them appropriately may want to file for separate support. While legal separation is not an option in the state, separate support is one way to decide on similar issues as one would in a divorce without terminating the marriage.

According to the Massachusetts Court System, there are a number of reasons why one would file for separate support. These include:

  • The filing spouse was deserted
  • The couple is living together but the filing party does not feel the other spouse is providing suitable support
  • The couple is living apart for justifiable reasons
  • The couple is living together but should be living apart for justifiable reasons

Justifiable reasons include situations like adultery, abuse or desertion. Some couples may choose to separate but not go through the divorce process because of the children or religious, financial or personal reasons.

According to Massachusetts Legal Help, there are a number of issues that can be addressed in cases of separate support which are similar issues of divorce. These are:

  • Financial support for the spouse
  • Support for the children
  • Asset, personal property and real property division
  • Child custody
  • Parenting time with children
  • Decision about who remains in marital home
  • Division of debts such as credit cards and utility bills
  • Abuse protection order, if necessary 

In cases of separate support, both parties can decide on these issues if a mutual agreement can be made. If not, the court will get involved and make decisions based on evidence and testimony. 

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