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Find out who can file for separate support

Learn about the difference between separate support and divorce, and who can benefit from separate support.

Who can file for separate support?

You can file for separate support if you're married and:

  • Your spouse has failed to support you
  • Your spouse has deserted you
  • You and your spouse are living separately for “justifiable cause,” or
  • You and your spouse have “justifiable cause” to live apart, but are still living together

“Justifiable cause” includes things like abuse, adultery, and desertion.

Massachusetts doesn't have a procedure called “legal separation.” Separate support is a lawsuit to get support for you or your children. It can also keep your spouse from putting any limits on your personal freedom. It is not a divorce.

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