When Should Legal Separation Be Used in California?

If you no longer wish to be married to your spouse, getting divorced is not your only legal option. There is also legal separation: a solution that allows you to divide your property and lead a separate life apart from your ex-spouse while remaining married on paper. There are many reasons why you may prefer legal separation to a divorce in California. If you are considering this option for ending your relationship, consult with a legal separation attorney for advice about moving forward.

Can Legal Separations Keep the Option Open of Reconciliation?

Legal separation is like divorce in that the couple will no longer be in a relationship, will split marital property and custody of their children, and will live separate lives. The difference is that the couple will still technically be married in the eyes of the law. The couple is still engaged in a valid and ongoing marriage on paper, and neither spouse can get remarried until getting a divorce.

One of the main reasons couples choose legal separation over divorce is to keep the option of reconciliation open. If a legally separated couple gets back together, they must simply file a Motion to Vacate Order of Legal Separation to end the separation (or a Motion to Dismiss if the legal separation has not yet been finalized). A divorced couple, on the other hand, would have to get remarried if they reconcile.

When Else Should Legal Separation Be Used in California?

Married couples in California choose legal separation over divorce for a wide variety of reasons. If you are considering legal separation but are not sure if it is the right choice for you, a family law attorney in Los Angeles can help you weigh the pros and cons in your particular case. You might wish to use legal separation instead of getting divorced in many different situations, such as:

  • You do not yet meet California’s residency requirement for getting divorced.
  • You want to be separated sooner than California’s required waiting period for a divorce.
  • You want to establish a date of separation for property division reasons for a divorce later.
  • You need time to work out matters such as property division and child custody before getting divorced.
  • You wish to retain benefits you receive through your marriage, such as health insurance, military spouse or retirement benefits.
  • You do not wish to get divorced for religious reasons.
  • You want to avoid the emotional stress of divorce on you and your family.

Getting divorced is an extremely personal decision. If there are reasons why getting divorced is not right for you, consider legal separation as a potential alternative. You can enjoy many of the same benefits as a divorce without the finality, stigma, emotional stress, or moral or religious issues of a divorce by choosing legal separation.

Do I Need an Attorney for a Legal Separation in California?

Legal separation covers all of the same issues as a divorce in California. You and your ex-spouse will have to work together to agree on these issues or else face each other in divorce court. Hiring an attorney who specializes in legal separation can improve your chances of compromising with your spouse and reaching a successful settlement agreement. This can save you time, money and stress.

An attorney can help you work through the issues of your legal separation while protecting your rights. For example, your lawyer can help with child custody, visitation and support matters by helping you and your ex create a parenting plan. Your lawyer can also assist you with the division of your marital property, making sure that your ex or his or her lawyer does not take advantage of you.

For more information about how an attorney can help you with legal separation or divorce in California, contact The Boyd Law Firm for a case evaluation in Los Angeles.