Want to move out, being not to. Because I will lose rights to the House.
Your question could refer to two documents/procedures in Ohio. A legal separation separates you & your spouse's legal obligations to one another, that is your assets & debts, living arrangements, everything except the actual marriage contract. You remain married to your spouse until that too is terminated by court action at a later date, should you so elect.
The second is the "separation agreement" which is part of every divorce/dissolution in Ohio, usually made part of the decree itself. This document's terms spell out the specifics of your separation, who gets what in terms of assets, debts, child custody/support, alimony, etc. A properly prepared agreement will be several pages long, the complexity determined by the circumstances of your case. See my Avvo guide here: http://www.avvo.com/legal-guides/ugc/what-is-the-difference-between-a-divorce-and-dissolution-in-ohio-and-how-to-i-proceed
You may also visit my website for information regarding the marriage termination procedures & much more detail. Click on the link below.
While it is true that our courts tend to leave things as they find them - moving out does not necessarily mean that you would relinquish all "rights" to the marital house. You may forfeit your right to immediate occupancy of the residence, but that does not mean that you lose your right to obtain your marital share upon division of the assets of the marriage. Also, if there is domestic violence or the threat of domestic violence, this will impact the court’s view of your moving out. However, note that your moving out may also affect issues such as payment of bills and/or custody and parenting time, so I would not suggest you make a move without discussing the same with a family law attorney who can review all of your specific circumstances.
As to the question of what a “legal separation” looks like, as noted by the other attorney, there are two varieties of what is loosely referred to as a “legal separation”. The first is the result of a court action and will appear in the form of a court order. The second is actually a contract between you and your spouse and will set forth the rights and responsibilities each of you would receive as a result of the agreement. I would not consider entering into either without having consulted a family law attorney. The termination of a marriage is a major event that can affect you for many years. It is worth the investment to have it done right or you are likely to “pay” for a bad settlement for a long time.
IMPORTANT LEGAL NOTICE: Mr. Piper's response set forth above is not legal advice and it does not create an attorney-client relationship. Mr. Piper's responses to all questions posted on AVVO are intended to provide general information based upon the his understanding of the facts stated in the question, and are for the general educational purposes of the public, not any specific individual. Also, a particular case may involve additional facts and circumstances which might invalidate some or all of the concepts provided in this answer and therefore you should not rely upon this answer in any individual situation. In order to offer legal advice about this or any similar situation, a qualified attorney would likely need to consider many factors not stated in the question and would need to question the potential client in order to clarify the specific facts operable in that case. If you would like to obtain specific legal advice about this issue, it is recommended that you contact an attorney in your state. Mr. Piper is licensed to practice law in the State of Ohio, and may be contacted directly via email at: [email protected]
Whether you terminate your marriage by a dissolution, obtain a legal separation or simply enter into a contract to separate, you need a separation agreement. I suggest looking at several of the guides provided by counsel in Ohio on this avvo cite.
A separation agreement is a document that sets forth all the debts and assets of the parties, who retains rights and responsibilities and how they are divided. This includes real estate, values, mortgages, identifying equity and division of equity as well as ownership of the property. It also deal with any parenting issues, child support, spousal support and retirement matters.
A separation agreement needs to be agreed to and signed by both parties. This can be a complicated or simple document depending on the nature of the debts and assets. The requirements on specific matters varies from county to county. You should at a minimum seek legal counsel to discuss your specific situation and what needs to be included.
Do note that counsel is correct that leaving the residence may entitle the other party to exclusive occupancy but does not divest you of your interest in the marital equity. Again, I strongly suggest at least a consultation with counsel to get full handle on the matter before doing anything.
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