Society

How to File for a Legal Separation in California

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When you and your spouse are no longer able to participate in the daily duties of marriage, you may decide to file for a legal separation. Unlike a divorce, which permanently ends the marriage, a legal separation is a legal status that allows you to continue to be married, but to live separately. You can also ask the court to order your spouse to pay you spousal support, or alimony, and to divide your property. The court will also issue child custody orders and restraining orders.

To start the legal separation process, you must file a petition and summons. The petitioner must state the reason for the separation, a statement of the irreconcilable differences of the parties, and the date of the separation. A judge will then confirm the petition and summons. After this step, the respondent must file a response to the petition. If the party who filed the petition can prove that the other party was irreconcilably indifferent, the court can deny the request for a legal separation.

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The court may allow a legally separated couple to retain some of their marital benefits, such as medical and dental insurance, if they meet the requirements. Additionally, if the couple has children, the court can also order them to have visitation time with their parents, if the court finds that the couple’s behavior is not in the best interests of the children.

The process of filing for a legal separation is similar to a divorce. One spouse must be a California resident for at least six months prior to the separation and the other spouse must not have been in California for any substantial period of time. There are exceptions for domestic partnership partners, emergency situations, and international partners. All of the other rules of the law remain the same.

The other main difference between a legal separation and a divorce is that a legal separation does not require a divorce. This is because the couple can still be married until the court decides to grant a divorce. Also, a person who wishes to file for a legal separation will not have to wait the usual six month period before a divorce can be granted. However, if a couple has not been able to meet the residency requirements for a divorce, they can still obtain a legal separation.

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Photo by Tingey Injury Law Firm on Unsplash

While it can be difficult to consider a divorce, many couples choose to pursue a legal separation in order to avoid divorce. These are often people who are trying to prevent a divorce for deeply held personal reasons, such as religious beliefs. Another reason why a couple would seek a legal separation is because they are unable to get along. By choosing this route, they can evaluate whether their relationship can be repaired and whether it can be better for their children.

Whether you and your spouse are looking to divorce or pursue a legal separation, you will need an attorney to help you navigate the process. An attorney will be able to provide guidance on how to deal with issues such as child custody and spousal support. He or she can also represent you in court, present your case, and defend your rights.

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