Each state has its own laws regarding legal separation and divorce. In California, you have the option of filing for a legal separation, instead of a divorce. While the majority of couples choose divorce over legal separation, there are a handful of couples who decide to take the separation route instead.
You may be wondering, "Why would someone want to separate instead of divorce?" There are a number of reasons for filing for legal separation, but in our experience it comes down to religious reasons, health insurance, personal beliefs, or taxes.
Legal Separation vs. Divorce
Legal separation and divorce are similar, however, with a legal separation you stay married, and neither you nor your spouse can remarry unless you obtain a divorce. If you decide to file for a legal separation, the court will have to make all of the same orders that it would in a divorce, including orders for:
- Property division
- Debt division
- Child custody
- Child support
- Spousal support (where applicable)
- Restraining order (if necessary)
Aside from the fact that separated spouses cannot remarry, legal separation affords spouses virtually the same advantages of being married, while enjoying the benefits of living apart.
If you and your spouse have children, in the absence of domestic violence, the best solution is for the both of you to reach an agreement over who should take care of them.
If you two cannot agree on a custody and visitation schedule, a judge will have to make these decisions for you. However, before any hearing involving child custody, both parents are required to meet with a trained counselor who is hired by the court; this "neutral" person will try to help you both agree on a parenting plan.
For further information about legal separation, contact a Los Angeles divorce attorney from Claery & Hammond, LLPtoday!