Legal separation in California: Is this right for you?

Ending a marriage that was once full of love and hope is never easy. Many couples grow apart, and that’s the sad truth. Yet, there are some who don’t want to end the marriage right. Think of legal separation as a means to stay apart while remaining married. In California, you can file for legal separation as long as you are a legal resident of the state. Because the decision has legal and other consequences, you may want to talk to a Lake Forest family lawyer to understand your unique circumstances. In this post, we are discussing when a legal separation is a better alternative. 

When legal separation makes sense

Firstly, legal separation is not the end of your marriage. You and your spouse can choose to live apart but are not allowed to remarry without getting a divorce. You may consider this as an option if – 

  1. You aren’t sure whether divorce is right for you
  2. There is some hope that you may reconcile with your spouse again
  3. You want to continue to get the tax benefits as a couple
  4. You cannot file for divorce because of residency requirements in California
  5. You and your spouse want to continue to get government or medical benefits
  6. You have religious reasons to not get a divorce
  7. Both people want to get the social security benefits as a couple

When a divorce makes more sense

Is legal separation better than divorce? There is no one answer to that. It largely depends on what two spouses want or don’t want from the marriage. You may want to get divorced instead of legal separation if – 

  1. You want to get married to someone else
  2. You want to dissolve the marriage 
  3. You want to permanently split your finances
  4. There is nothing to gain anything from a legal separation

Other key aspects

Note that you need to wait for at least six months to get a divorce in California, while there are no such requirements for a legal separation. If you don’t meet the immediate residency requirements, you can choose to get legally separated and wait for the time being. While you are legally separated, you are still married to your spouse. You cannot choose to marry right away until the divorce is finalized. 

Talk to a lawyer to get more objectivity on whether legal separation may work better for you or if you should file for divorce right away. 

Rodney McFadden