In California, a legal separation is not the same as a separation agreement. We’ll take an overview of what a legal separation is in this blog, and we’ll tackle the topic of California separation agreements in our next blog.
When spouses or life partners reach a point in their relationship in which they are considering its termination, divorce is not the only option. A legal separation is an alternative to divorce. Some couples who choose this alternative do so as way to bring some closure to a relationship without having to completely end the marriage. Divorce may follow a legal separation, but not always. In some cases, considerations such as religious beliefs, insurance coverage, or other matters may affect a couple’s decision to stay legally married, but to live and conduct the business of their lives separately.
First, let’s define the term “legal separation.” This is a formal legal action, and that means, of course, paperwork, as well as the involvement of the California courts, and often attorneys as well. Briefly stated, you’ll need to file the correct legal paperwork and forms with the court. You’ll need to make tough decisions regarding things such as child custody and/or child support, alimony, and division of property. And finally, whether the separation is decided by an agreement between spouses or by the Court, you’ll need to get a final judgment of legal separation from the court.
It’s important to note that, as in the instance of a divorce, if the two separating parties can reach full agreement on their own regarding the above issues, that is optimal; otherwise, the court will decide for them.
Always remember, everything in this blog is meant solely for informational purposes. It is written from our perspective and our point of view only, and reflects our personal opinions based upon our professional experience and judgment. Nothing in it is intended as legal advice.
If you have questions about whether you should pursue a court-ordered legal separation or a divorce, we believe it is in your best interests to consult with an experienced family law attorney who can help you decide how to proceed. At Dinnebier & Demmerle, you can add all the know-how and specialized experience of Orange County’s premier family law specialists to your team. We are right here in Tustin, CA. When you’re ready to move forward, please call at your convenience to set up a consultation at 714-838-1099.