Legal Separation In California

When your friends and family discover that you are getting divorced, they will likely support you in any way they can. They may even offer advice. Because divorce laws vary by state, someone who lives in another region may recommend legal separation. You should be aware that some locations require couples to be legally separated for a predetermined amount of time before finalizing their divorce. If you live in California, is this an option to consider? 

California is one of the states that recognize legal separation. Although no divorce decree can be finalized in less than six months in California, there is no requirement to be legally separated during this time. The six-month period begins on either the day the respondent (the person receiving the documents) receives the divorce paperwork or that person’s first day in court—whichever happens first.  

Choosing Legal Separation

Pursuing a legal separation is something you may decide after having conversations with both your attorney and your spouse. One of the few times that a legal separation is your only choice  is if you and your spouse just recently moved to California. If you want to get divorced in California, you must meet the state’s residency requirements:

  • Being a California resident for six months
  • Being a resident of the county where the divorce is filed for three months 

If you do not meet the residency requirements, you may opt for a legal separation until you have. 

Others may choose to pursue a legal separation because they aren’t sure about dissolving their marriage. When you are legally separated, you have the chance to live apart, divide assets, and even map out a custody agreement. These are the same things you will have to do should you choose to pursue a divorce. 

But legal separation is also about keeping some of the benefits of marriage. You can retain these benefits during a legal separation, but you will lose them in a divorce. For example, your spouse may be on your health insurance plan, or you may want to keep filing your taxes jointly because it is in your financial interest. Although you may live in separate homes, use your own bank accounts, and pay your own bills, you are still technically married when you are legally separated. Therefore, you may keep those aforementioned things. 

Lastly, you may have religious views or personal reasons for not wanting to be divorced. A legal separation can enable you to live independently without seeking something as final as a divorce. 

The Grey Legal Group, APC  

The Grey Legal Group has more than two decades of combined experience helping clients work through the legal challenges of divorce, legal separation, and post-judgment modifications/enforcement. Contact us to schedule a consultation to receive professional and experienced legal counseling in any area we have discussed or mentioned.

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The Grey Legal Group

At The Grey Legal Group, we believe in helping all families with their legal needs so they can be protected on your journey back to a calmer, happier place of stability. Whether it is divorce, child custody, guardianship, domestic violence, or adoption, we have seen it all before and we can help you through it. With the legal knowledge and experience we bring to the table, we will be certain to find the best and most efficient solution to your situation.

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