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Eastwood's legal separation could become good, bad or ugly

When a couple comes to the realization that their marriage is no longer working, it may be easy to assume that divorce is the only step moving forward. However, under Mississippi law it is possible to file for legal separation. This move covers many of the same steps as divorce, but a couple is remains legally married in the eyes of the state.

Legendary actor Clint Eastwood and his wife Dina Ruiz-Eastwood are working through a legal separation. Dina took the step to file for separation and requested that property division move forward in accord with a prenuptial agreement, but also asked for the ability to amend the proceedings after the couple's assets are divided.

Not only do couples handle property division in legal separation, but they will also negotiate child custody and support matters if need be. In the Eastwood case, Dina has requested physical custody of her daughter, but both parents would share legal custody. This means that the couple's child would live primarily with her mother, but both Clint and Dina would have a say in important parenting decisions.

As this case shows, legal separation has a lot in common with divorce. Couples take steps to separate their lives, but they do not formally end their legal relationship. Even though they are technically still married, they will live apart.

This arrangement also allows for the possibility of a couple getting back together. If it's possible to work through differences, the couple will not have to get married again. As such, some people view separation as a viable option to determine if divorce will eventually be the right step. Before moving forward with any major decision such as this, it's could be beneficial to explore all-available options and determine what will work best.

Source: The Herald, "Dina Eastwood files for legal separation from Clint Eastwood," Sept. 10, 2013

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