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Maria Shriver and Arnold Schwarzenegger Have Separated

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By Stephanie Rabiner, Esq. on May 10, 2011 11:19 AM

Arnold Schwarzenegger and Maria Shriver announced yesterday that, after 25 years of marriage, they have separated.

In a statement released to the press, the couple said that they are currently living apart, but are working on the future of their relationship.

What are the legal implications of their separation?

It's unclear whether Maria Shriver and Arnie have legally separated, or are just taking this time to clear their heads.

If it's the latter, then the two won't experience any legal changes; but if they've legally separated, then their rights vis-a-vis one another have changed.

Legal separation, which is court-ordered, will impact property rights as well as spousal and child support.

As for property, the judge granting a legal separation can divvy up shared property at the couple's request. In most states, a legal separation also marks the end of what is called "marital property."

This means that any income acquired after the legal separation belongs to the acquiring spouse alone.

Depending on the financial situation, a spouse may also be entitled to maintenance--a pre-divorce alimony. There may also be child support payments, which, in the case of the Governator, may be granted to Maria Shriver.

The pair has a child under the age of 18.

Whether any this is going to affect the former First Couple of California remains to be seen, but, in the meantime, The New York Times reports that Arnie has plans to return to the big screen.

As for Maria Shriver? No one knows. But what did she expect? She's a Kennedy who married a Republican.

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