Is legal separation right for you?
When two spouses no longer want to be married, typically divorce is the best option. However, a legal separation can be an alternative to divorce in certain situations.
There are three main reasons you might want to file for a legal separation rather than a divorce:
- You may have personal or religious objections to divorce, but you still want to leave your partner.
- You want to continue using your spouse’s health insurance policy.
- You want the process of ending your marriage to go faster than it would if you followed the typical divorce path.
Remember, a legal separation does not end your marriage in the eyes of the law. It just allows you and your spouse to separate your life and your finances.
Getting a Legal Separation
If you want to file for legal separation in California, your spouse needs to agree to it. If they do not agree, you will have to file for divorce. However, if they do not respond to your papers, this will be considered a default and you can eventually file for legal separation.
Unlike divorce, there are no residency requirements or waiting periods associated with legal separation. This means you can start your legal separation proceedings without having to wait 6 months to establish residency in California, and you can finalize the proceedings without having to wait another 6 months like you would in a divorce.
A legal separation decree will address the same issues a divorce decree does:
- Property Division
- Child Custody
- Child Support
- Spousal Support
As with divorce, you have the option of working out your own agreements and having them approved by a judge, or letting the court decide for you. The agreements will be binding and legally enforceable.
Converting a Legal Separation to a Divorce
Under California law, it is possible to convert a legal separation to a divorce at any point during the process, or at any time after the legal separation is final. If you are not a California resident, it can be advantageous to start the legal separation process and then immediately file a request to convert to divorce. This essentially allows you to get your divorce done 6 months faster because you skip the residency requirement.
Trust Us for Superior Quality Representation
At The Law Offices of Alejo Lugo & Associates, we bring over 15 years of experience in family law to the table. We can draw upon this experience to make sure we get all your paperwork filled out completely and correctly and submitted in a timely manner, as well as to ensure that we provide you with accurate information about your rights and options regarding the agreements contained in your legal separation decree.
We sincerely care about each and every client, and we will be right beside you every step of the way during your legal separation. We are always available to answer questions and provide support in English or Spanish. Call us at (800) 497-0018 to schedule your appointment.