Legal Separation Attorneys

"Legal separation" in not recognized under Massachusetts law. Therefore, you do not need to obtain the Probate Court's permission to live apart from your spouse.

Even though "legal separation" is not recognized in Massachusetts, spouses who are separated can file an action to obtain separate support in Massachusetts. When one spouse files a Complaint for Separate Support, they are not seeking to end in the marriage but instead are asking the Probate Court to order the other spouse to provide financial support while the marriage continues.

To succeed on an action for separate support, the filing spouse must prove that (1) the other spouse has failed to provide sufficient support; (2) the other spouse deserted the filing spouse; or (3) there is justifiable cause for living apart even if the spouses are not currently living apart.

When adjudicating an action for separate support, the Probate Court can enter orders on a permanent or temporary basis. In particular, the court can order the:

  • Payment of alimony, child support, and the continuance of health insurance coverage;
  • Child custody with an appropriate parenting plan;
  • Conveyance of real estate; and/or
  • Separation of assets.

One or both parties can later file for divorce, but an action for separate support cannot be filed if an action for divorce is pending.

The family law attorneys at are experienced in bringing and defending against a Complaint for Separate Support to ensure that their client's rights and interests are protected.