In Colombia, the separation of bodies is a legal figure that allows spouses to live physically separated without dissolving the marriage bond. Unlike divorce, the separation of bodies does not put an end to the marriage, but suspends the cohabitation between the spouses and regulates certain aspects related to the separation.
The main objective of the separation of bodies is to provide a space for reflection and distancing to the spouses, with the possibility of an eventual reconciliation or subsequent request for divorce. Through this figure, the spouses can maintain their civil status as married, but are not obliged to live together.
In Colombia there are two types of separation of bodies:
- Unilateral: abandonment, one spouse leaves home.
- By mutual agreement.
- The spousal relationship is maintained and therefore all the obligations between the spouses remain in force.
- The marital partnership is still in force.
- The children are presumed to be the husband’s. In the event that one of the spouses has children out of wedlock, it is presumed that the child is the fruit of the marriage, so to rebut this presumption, an action for investigation of filiation must be filed.
It is a legal figure used to suspend the life in common of the spouses, without having to divorce, because the marital bond remains in force, nor is it necessary to request the cessation of civil effects in the case of a religious marriage, because it is sought that the couple reaches a reconciliation. The grounds for divorce are the same as those set forth in Article 154 of the Civil Code.
- Suspension of cohabitation: The spouses have the possibility of living physically separated, without having the obligation to live under the same roof.
- Dissolution of the conjugal partnership: if it is indefinite this is an immediate effect, while if it is temporary it can be requested to the judge to be maintained.
- Children will no longer enjoy the presumption of paternity unless the spouses have reconciled or the presumed father has acknowledged the child by positive acts such as the payment of necessities.
- Effects on the custody and care of the children: The separation of bodies may imply the need to establish agreements or decisions regarding the custody and care of the children in common. These issues must be resolved in the best interest of the children.
It is important to mention that in the case of judicial separation of spouses it is also possible to request alimony and revocation of the donations when the cause is a sanction, or in other words, when one of the spouses incurs in a fault.
In case of reconciliation, the judge must be informed in order to put an end to the separation of bodies. If there is no reconciliation and the judge is not informed of this, a flat judgment will be issued terminating the separation of bodies and the obligations between them will resume.