When a married couple or domestic partners face irreconcilable differences, they may think that their only option is to file for divorce. However, California family law offers another choice for couples wanting to end their intimate partnerships.
Legal separation is a process that allows couples to live apart without severing their legal ties. It can be a good option for those unsure if their breakup is permanent or who have objections to divorce.
Why do couples pursue legal separations?
There are several reasons some people decide to live apart but remain legally married. Here are a few examples.
- It may be the only option for couples who follow a religion that disallows divorce.
- It can allow spouses to retain health insurance and other economic benefits even though they reside apart.
- It provides a solution for those couples waiting for a specific event (a spouse retiring, a child turning 18, etc.) before they file for divorce.
Some even choose a legal separation to overcome the required waiting period for getting a divorce in California.
What can you do in a legal separation?
Just about the only way legal separation differs from divorce is that you are still married in the eyes of the law. In other words, you can address the same things in a legal separation and a divorce.
- Divide marital property
- Split up debts
- Ask for spousal support
- Obtain parenting time and child support orders
For many, a legal separation is an ideal alternative to divorce, but remember, it is still an official process that benefits from a careful approach. Someone with legal experience can provide you with support and guidance to ensure your rights are protected.