Is It A Good Idea To Remain Married And Live Apart From Your Spouse?
Today’s topic stems from an article that I read a couple of days ago. The topic of discussion was, “Is it a good idea to remain married and live apart from your spouse?”
I do have a lot of consultations with couples that come in that have been separated from each other for years, but continue to be married for different reasons. They are choosing to not get a divorce right away and continue to be married but have totally, completely, separate lives. In a community property state, the courts always look at a married couple’s assets and their debts as property of the marital estate, which can be subject to equitable distribution between the parties. This is extremely important to know if you choose to continue to be married but live apart from your spouse.
The article that I just read a couple days ago, described an example of this. It was an article from Michigan where a man and a wife were married but had been living apart for two years. While the husband was beginning the divorce proceedings, he bought a lottery ticket, what turned out to be a very lucky lottery ticket, winning him 30 million dollars. What ended up happening was, that the courts found that because the couple were still married that lottery ticket was community property and therefore, the wife was entitled to half of the winnings. Thus the husband had to share 15 million dollars with his wife. Even though, he purchased the ticket after they were separated for a few years, they were still married, and so the courts rule that a marriage is not over until it is over.
So please be sure that if you live in a community property state and you are living apart but are choosing to stay married to your spouse, be aware, that any debts accumulated by either one of you during this time, or any assets that have been obtained by either one of you during this time, can be subject to equitable distribution by the courts. It’s important to weight the pros and the cons if this is a decision that you are considering making.
If you are considering divorce, contact our office to discuss your situation in detail with an experienced Family Law Attorney. Our office can be reached at (702) 998-1188, firstname.lastname@example.org or by scheduling a consultation online.