Legal separation is, for the most part, identical to divorce in California. Once enacted, the couple must divide their assets, change residence, and live their lives physically and financially separate. Unlike divorce, however, the marriage is not completely dissolved meaning that some tax, insurance, and medical benefits remain and neither party can remarry. Aforementioned benefits aside, there are other reasons that some pursue a legal separation rather than divorce:
- California has a residency requirement for divorce. In order to dissolve the marriage, a party must have resided in the State of California for at least six months and in the same county for three. Some who want to end their marriage do not meet these requirements and, thus, file for separation until the residency requirements are met.
- California also requires a six-month waiting period for a divorce, on top of the residency requirement. Meaning that, if you file for divorce, it will not be finalized for at least six months. Some are unwilling or unable to tolerate this period and file for legal separation in the meantime. Take note that, if this is your reason, the six-month waiting period does not start until you’ve undergone the legal process to convert the legal separation into a divorce.
- Some religious beliefs do not allow for divorce. Legal separation provides an alternative that does not conflict with these doctrines.
- Marriage is quite final. Some seek legal separation in order to see if they actually want to divorce; a trial run to figure out whether the marriage should continue, while taking a break from one another.
- With a legal separation, both parties continue to share medical, tax, and insurance benefits, as well as any benefits granted by one party being a member of the military. These can include remaining on another party’s (much better) health insurance and access to the Military Post Exchange.
Regardless of why you want to seek legal separation over divorce, you’ll want a skilled, aggressive lawyer to ensure that things go smoothly.
At the Law Offices of Glenn R. Wilson (FamilyLawFresno.com) we are experienced in handling legal separation matters and can provide aggressive and professional assistance with your legal separation.
By Connor Douglas Johnson