The Difference Between a Legal Separation and Separation Agreement

In the state of California, the first step in a divorce is to acquire a separation agreement. This is not the same thing as a legal separation. A legal separation is an alternative to divorce. This court-ordered separation will not terminate the marriage, but will help to establish that both spouses in a marriage are now living separately and wish to separate their lives as much as possible.

Legal separations may involve child custody decisions, spousal or child support mandates, and more. Some couples choose legal separation for religious reasons, especially if their religion discourages divorce. Others choose to remain in a legal separation rather than get a divorce in order to benefit from their spouse's health care plan.

On the other hand, a separation agreement is a legally binding contract that deals with the aspects of a temporary separation including child support and visitation mandates. The separation also deals with property division and alimony while a divorce process takes place. Spouses don't have to go to court to enter into a separation agreement.

The agreement will simply address some of the important questions that will arise when the couple decides to separate, such as who will remain in the home, who will pay for living expenses, and where the children from the marriage will live for the time being. All arrangements that are made as a part of a separation agreement may be reversed and revised at the time of the actual divorce. Essentially, a separation agreement Is a negotiation between spouses. If you and your spouse have a difficult time working through these negotiations on your own, a trusted Los Angeles divorce attorney at Claery & Hammond can help. Contact this Los Angeles divorce firm today if you want assistance!