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If you're thinking of the question, chances are someone has already asked. . .
No. A "legal separation" is an entirely different legal proceeding governed by a separate set of laws. A so-called "legal separation" is not a part of, or a prerequisite to, a divorce. In fact, "legal separations" are now rarely used (although they remain appropriate in rare cases.)
Not necessarily. In fact, some spouses continue to reside together while a divorce is pending (and even shortly after a Judgment of Divorce Nisi has entered.) The Court will not -- and cannot -- order a spouse to leave the house UNLESS the Court is convinced that the other spouse is entitled to an Abuse Prevention Order (often referred to as a Restraining Order) or the Court determines, "after a hearing, that the health, safety or welfare of the moving party or any minor children residing with the parties would be endangered or substantially impaired by a failure to enter such an order."
No, the concept of so-called "abandonment" is relevant only when a party is seeking a divorce on fault grounds (very rare.) You have not committed “abandonment” simply by moving out of your house.
Whether or not it is wise for you to make a permanent move, however, is an issue that you should get legal advice on BEFORE you move.
Not entirely. If your child is under the age of 18, the parents -- or, if the parents cannot agree, then the Court -- decides custody and a parenting plan based on what the Court determines is in the child's best interest under the circumstances. Keep in mind, however, that the Court can consider the child's expressed wishes and desires, and will do so especially if the child is older, demonstrates a level of maturity and articulates well his or her legitimate reasons for wanting to have a certain parenting schedule. If your child is over 18, then the Court no longer has the jurisdiction to determine that child's custody (although the Court can still order support for that child up to age 23 in certain circumstances.)
Not necessarily. The Court can order parents to continue paying support and/or contribute to a child's college expenses -- up to a maximum age of 23 -- IF the child remains "unemancipated." As a practical matter, if your child attends college, then s/he will remain "unemancipated" for so long as s/he remains in school. The trickier cases are those where a younger child -- between the ages of 18 and 21 -- does not attend college (or does not attend college full-time) but still lives with one parent and is not financially self-supporting. Whether or not that child is "emancipated" -- and whether or not the Court will modify or eliminate an existing support order -- will depend on the circumstances.
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A peak inside Janie's probate and family lawyer brain.
I'm guessing you have that uncomfortable feeling that you have to do something right now, but you don't know what. It's okay. I've got you.