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  • Divorce and Legal Separation

Divorce and Legal Separation

The main difference between divorce and legal separation is that a divorce ends your marriage or domestic partnership and a legal separation does not. After you get divorced, you will be single, and you can marry or become a domestic partner again. When you are legally separated, you cannot remarry.

No fault divorce

California is called a “no-fault” divorce state, which means there is no “guilty” or “non-guilty” person, from the court’s point of view. When you start a divorce case, you can ask the judge to make orders about custody and visitation, child or spousal/partner support, the division of your property, and who will be responsible for paying debts. This process is the same for a legal separation.

How to decide

Reasons for choosing either process differ as well. Couples choosing divorce are sure they want to end the marriage and separate from each other in every possible way. Typically, couples decide they want to file for legal separation instead of divorce because of religious/personal reasons or they do not want to get a divorce but want to live apart and get orders from the court about money, property, and parenting issues.

Another reason for considering legal separation is when couples do not meet the required residency requirements to file for divorce in California, and they cannot or do not want to wait to get the process of separating started. For divorce, one of the parties must have lived in California for 6 months whereas for legal separation, at least one of you has to live in California, length does not matter.

Time is also a different for each case, the divorce process takes 6 months, or longer, from the date the person filing for divorce officially lets his or her spouse or domestic partner know about the divorce.

Divorce consultation

If you are unsure of your situation, and whether you want a divorce or a legal separation talk to a lawyer. Contact Thorsteinson Law Group to help you with understanding the divorce and separation processes. We provide complimentary consultations, and are dedicated to helping you.

Divorce and Legal Separation

The main difference between divorce and legal separation is that a divorce ends your marriage or domestic partnership and a legal separation does not. After you get divorced, you will be single, and you can marry or become a domestic partner again. When you are legally separated, you cannot remarry.

California is called a “no-fault” divorce state, which means there is no “guilty” or “non-guilty” person, from the court’s point of view. When you start a divorce case, you can ask the judge to make orders about custody and visitation, child or spousal/partner support, the division of your property, and who will be responsible for paying debts. This process is the same for a legal separation.

Reasons for choosing either process differ as well. Couples choosing divorce are sure they want to end the marriage and separate from each other in every possible way. Typically, couples decide they want to file for legal separation instead of divorce because of religious/personal reasons or they do not want to get a divorce but want to live apart and get orders from the court about money, property, and parenting issues. Another reason for considering legal separation is when couples do not meet the required residency requirements to file for divorce in California, and they cannot or do not want to wait to get the process of separating started. For divorce, one of the parties must have lived in California for 6 months whereas for legal separation, at least one of you has to live in California, length does not matter. Time is also a different for each case, the divorce process takes 6 months, or longer, from the date the person filing for divorce officially lets his or her spouse or domestic partner know about the divorce.

If you are unsure of your situation, and whether you want a divorce or a legal separation talk to a lawyer. Contact Thorsteinson Law Group to help you with understanding the divorce and separation processes. We provide complimentary consultations, and are dedicated to helping you.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Legal Separation

Legal separation is different than a California divorce for various reasons. With these reasons come advantages and disadvantages for legal separation versus divorce. Depending on the relationship, a big difference between the two is that in a divorce, you are able to remarry whereas in a legal separation you cannot because a legal separation will not change your marital status. Being legally separated does not translate to being single and able to marry once more and would have to get a divorce to change that status.

Advantages of legal separation include the following:
• Regional Requirement: In California divorce it is required that you have lived in the state for at least six months to file for divorce. In a legal separation, there is no regional requirement.
• Timing: Legal separations take effect as soon as the separation is written, whereas a divorce takes six months to complete, sometimes longer
• Trial separation: Some couples are not entirely ready to divorce and with a legal separation, they are able to save time and money by going through a trial to see if divorce is really what they want.
• Similarities to CA divorce: Legal separation in California is very similar to a divorce where parties divide assets and talk financial issues, they arrange child custody and child support, and most parties live apart, just as in a divorce. The difference is primarily in the title.
• Religion integrity: Because a legal separation is not technically a divorce, the status allows religious parties to maintain integrity with their particular faith.
• Potential Benefits: A legal separation can in some circumstances allow the parties to continue with coverage under the other spouse’s plan. This is important to parties where one might have a chronic illness that prevents him or her from obtaining adequate health insurance.

To be well versed and clear on the details to legal separation, checking with an experienced California Lawyer before proceeding with the process is necessary.

Contact Thorsteinson Law Group to help you with your separation or divorce. We provide complimentary consultations, and are dedicated to helping you through the divorce process.