Unlike other states, Massachusetts does not have a way for Springfield couples and other couples in this state to get a “legal separation,” in which they would remain legally married but have their property divided and other family law issues resolved as if they were getting divorced. However, this state does allow a spouse to file a request for what is called “separate support.” A case for separate support is a legal request for a court to order one spouse to support the other person via alimony or other payments. The order can also require that the parent to pay child support for the benefit of children in the case.
There have to be grounds to file a case for separate support, although the couple does not necessarily have to be living apart to do so. Some of the grounds which constitute “justifiable cause” for separate support might include domestic violence or adultery. The fact that one spouse has simply left the home is also potentially a “justifiable cause.”
This sort of court action is not a divorce in any respect; the couple will remain legally married. As such, there may be religious, financial or emotional considerations that may influence a person to consider a request for separate support as opposed to a full-blown divorce. The important thing for Massachusetts residents to remember, however, is that this option is available to them.
A resident who is considering this sort of case will want to know exactly how it will affect them financially and in other respects. There may be practical questions as well, such as how one can go about requesting separate support or what sort of evidence a person will need in order to make sure that the amount of support ordered is correct.