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Specializing In Family Law Litigation And Mediation

Should you choose a legal separation over divorce?

Divorce is very final. The judge issues a decree and legally terminates the marriage. However, this may not be the solution you had in mind.

There is another option: legal separation. This may be the best approach for the issue that is affecting your marriage.

The single difference

A divorce terminates a marriage. A legal separation is much the same in that you and your spouse will face identical results and consequences of the split. There will be a property division settlement, a custody order for any minor children you have and a parenting plan. The matter of alimony will also be decided. In terms of divorce versus legal separation, the only difference is that with a separation, you will remain married.

Why couples separate

One of the main reasons for a couple to separate has to do with religion: Some religions do not permit divorce. Another consideration might be that as long as a couple remains legally married, a spouse is eligible for health care coverage under the other party’s employer-sponsored plan, and to be listed as the beneficiary under the company life insurance plan, as well. On the other hand, some couples choose legal separation to test the waters, so to speak, and make sure they really want to go ahead with divorce.

Filing in California

If you are new to the state of California, you can file for a legal separation on the first day you become a resident. You can amend that to divorce later, if you wish. However, you will have to be a resident of the state as well as the county in which you file for a period of three months before you are eligible to begin a divorce action. Many couples opt for a legal separation rather than divorce for a variety of reasons. Perhaps this would be the best decision for you.


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