Many married couples choose legal separation over divorce for personal reasons, such as holding onto religious beliefs.
For the past decade, our divorce lawyers have been helping families with whatever they need to get through the complex family court system. If you’re struggling and unsure where to turn, our Marin County legal separation lawyers offer free case evaluations. You can reach us at (415) 286-5440.
Legal Separation Overview
The court makes decisions about the same things during a legal separation proceeding as during a divorce hearing. This includes property division, child custody, and child support matters. The one big difference is that a legal separation doesn’t end marital status. Consequently, spouses cannot marry anyone else.
Both parties must agree for the court to legally separate them unless one party has not yet made an appearance. (CA Family Code § 2345) The grounds for legal separation are the same as those for divorce: either (1) irreconcilable differences or (2) permanent legal incapacity to make decisions. (CA Family Code § 2310)
A married couple may choose legal separation for different reasons, such as:
Residency: The parties have not resided in California for six months to file for divorce.
Please note that if you file for a separation but later meet the residency requirements, you can amend your petition to be a dissolution.
Financial: To avoid any financial complications come tax season.
Benefits: Maintaining spousal status for medical insurance or other benefits while still separating finances.
Expediency: A divorce can take up to half a year before it becomes official, whereas a separation is effective immediately.
A good deal of insurance companies have a rule that if you get legally separated, your spouse is no longer covered by your policy. So, before you decide to get legally separated, check your health insurance policy first.
Speak To Our Experienced San Francisco Bay Area Legal Separation Attorney Today
If you are considering a separation, please don’t hesitate to contact Warren Major LLP Immediately. Here at our Marin County law firm, we have experienced lawyers who can help guide you through the entire process from start to finish. While the legal steps of separating are often simple, other topics like support payments and custody rights can be more difficult to discern without professional legal aid.