Would a legal separation be better in your case than a divorce? What is a legal separation and how is it similar to yet different from a divorce? In what scenarios would a legal separation be better than a divorce?
A legal separation in California is very similar to a divorce in many ways. In a legal separation the parties in a marriage or domestic partnership may wish or choose to stay legally bonded together while separating property and resolving other issues such as child custody and parenting time, issues of spousal support and the division of community property.
When the legal separation is completed you are financially separated from your spouse or partner and are no longer responsible for their debts. Each of you will have your own separate property, as well as separate financial, investment and retirement accounts.
One of the most common reasons for a legal separation is based in religious principals. There are some faiths which specifically prohibit a divorce or which may limit it to very specific circumstances. Another common issue is health insurance. Health insurance coverage is not affected by a legal separation. A significant illness, condition or ailment may require the continuation of existing insurance. In many cases, a substantial health issue would not be covered by newly obtained health coverage after the completion of a divorce.
In what other circumstances would a legal separation be better for your situation than a divorce? California has specific residency laws regarding the filing of a divorce. Either you and/or your spouse or partner must have resided in California for at least six months and a minimum of three months in the county in which you wish to file the divorce action. California has no residency requirement for a legal separation. In cases where residency is an issue it is often prudent to begin with a legal separation and amend it in the future to a divorce action once residency requirements are met if necessary.
Would a legal separation be better than a divorce in your unique circumstances? You may be considering one of the challenges above or you may simply wish to keep the door open to a reconciliation in the future. The California Certified Family Law Specialists at Burke & Domercq have decades of experience in North County divorce cases. We invite you to contact us or call 760-712-3741 to learn more about a legal separation or to schedule an appointment.