Separate Maintenance?

Couples who didn’t want to divorce because “we just don’t do that, but we can’t live together” may have lived separately for much of their married life.

In some cases, there may have been a lawsuit to separate their property or allocate the amount that one spouse was to pay the other. These court cases would not be filings for divorce, but rather filings for separate maintenance. In many jurisdictions, these legal actions would be brought forward in the same court where divorce cases were heard, but there may be exceptions.

The information contained in the records would be similar to what divorce records contained during the same era–except for the divorce decree and termination of marriage. Date and place of marriage may be given, information on minor children, and disposition of assets.

If the couple owned real property or in some cases chattel property, a deed separating out their individual parcels or items may have been recorded.