If you are legally separated from your spouse or domestic partner, you are able to make your own decisions about handling your money, property and even parenting issues. However, couples may not remarry until the marriage or partnership has been dissolved.
Legal Separation Similar to Divorce
A legal separation is similar to a divorce in many ways, but in some ways it is different. Unlike a divorce, the couple has to mutually agree to the separation. Generally a legal separation will not be granted if one of the parties doesn’t agree to it, unless there hasn’t been a response from one of the parties concerning the separation. Similar to a divorce, issues such as child custody, division of property, spousal and child support and child visitation all need to be settled legally.
Choice Between Divorce and Separation
Although people assume if they get a legal separation that it will be easier to get a divorce, that isn’t necessarily true. Usually, a couple has to choose between a divorce and a legal separation. They can use the separation to see if they really want to terminate their marriage, but California is a “no fault” divorce state.
One of the biggest differences between a divorce and a legal separation is that in a divorce, there doesn’t need to be a mutual agreement. One of the spouses can file for divorce even if the other party doesn’t want to be divorced. In California, there are two legal reasons for divorce:
Irreconcilable differences don’t have to be proven in court as it is kind of a catch all phrase. The only real reason to go to court is to reach an agreement about child custody, property division, etc.
One of the most common reasons that a couple may get a legal separation is that they are new to the state and there are residency requirements for divorcing or, if the couple are already residents, it takes six months for a divorce to become final and the couple wants to lead separate lives as soon as possible.
If you or someone you know is looking to file for a legal separation contact the Law Office of Anne Dowden Saxton today for a free consultation.