Legal Separation and Separation Agreements

Legal Separation and separation agreements

In California, there are three ways to end a domestic partnership or marriage: dissolution, commonly known as divorce, legal separation, and annulment, also known as nullity.

When it comes to divorce, there never is an easy way to tackle this complicated issue. Legal separation may be a choice you make depending on the unique circumstances you and your partner encounter.

What is a Legal Separation?

According to the Superior Court of California, legal separation is similar to the dissolution of marriage, except both parties remain married to one another. Both parties can include resolution of issues regarding child custody, visitation, child support, spousal support, asset and debt division, former name restoration, and restraining orders. During the tenure of legal separation, neither party can marry or enter a domestic partnership with another person.

Legal separation has been viewed as the foundation for a divorce agreement. You may find information on how to file for a separation agreement, but it is important to consult an experienced family law divorce attorney so you are apprised of your legal rights and on important legal issues regarding your situation during this process.

Why Choose Legal Separation?

California is a no-fault state, which means when filing for divorce or a legal separation, the asking party does not have to prove the other party did something wrong. For both divorce and legal separation, you must choose between irreconcilable differences or the incurable insanity of your spouse. While divorce requires you to be a resident for six months then wait six months before the divorce is final, there is no residency requirement or waiting period for legal separation.

Some couples may choose legal separation instead of divorce for the simple fact of needing to maintain the marital status. Some may need to maintain their marriage status in regards to tax filing status, health insurance, or immigration. Having a legal separation allows them to live apart without affecting their other rights.

Another strong reason one may choose legal separation over divorce is that one may feel that legal separation gives them the necessary legal space apart to be able to consider their options. Legal separation is a softer action to take, rather than the finality of divorce.

Kern County Collaborative Divorce Lawyer

For comprehensive legal counsel on your options during your divorce or legal separation, contact Azemika & Azemika Law. We will craft fast and effective solutions for your unique circumstances and needs. We will fight for and protect you and your family during the separation and divorce process.

FAQs About Legal Separation

First, you or your spouse must be a resident of California for at least six months, and be a resident of the county you’re filing in three months in the county you’re filing in, before filing a dissolution of marriage. Once you file for divorce and serve the divorce petition to your spouse, you will have to wait about six months for your divorce to finalize.

Any property that qualifies as community property will be divided between both parties. However, any property that a spouse acquired before marriage or domestic partnership is considered separate property, and legally belongs to that spouse. Sometimes, these two can become intertwined, or commingled. With acute attention to detail, our divorce attorneys can help you sort out and protect your financial assets.

There are a variety of factors that the court must take in before deciding if spousal support should be awarded. Some factors include a spouse’s earning capacity, spouse’s standard of living established during marriage, age and health of the spouse, and whether there are children to support as well. A qualified attorney can help answer these questions for you in-depth and protect your interests.

In custody cases, the court does not let the child choose whom he or she lives with. The court may take the child’s wishes into consideration if the child is “of sufficient age and capacity to reason.” If willing, children aged 14 and older may express their opinions concerning child custody, but the court is not required to follow their wishes.


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