This is when a couple lives apart–physically and financially–but stays legally married. There may be a court action that separates the couple’s finances and any real properties or spells out a maintenance amount given to one spouse (usually the wife). Since the couple is not divorced they cannot marry someone else, but they can act separately in other legal acts. If you encounter this phrase in relationship to a relative, determine what it precisely meant at the point and time in question. A search of land records and court records is likely warranted. Sometimes property settlements are recorded in the land records even if real property is not owned. But don’t ignore the phrase. Your relative likely didn’t.
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