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Legal Separation

Los Angeles Legal Separation Lawyer

Unlike a divorce, a legal separation does not mean the end of your marriage; it simply means that you and your spouse choose to live separate lives while remaining legally married. In other words, legal separation is an alternative to divorce. Sometimes, married couples prefer this option for different reasons, such as not seeking a divorce due to their religious beliefs.

Los Angeles Legal Separation Attorney

The intent of a legal separation is to work out an agreement and/or court order for things like the division of your assets, child custody, visitation, and support.

This court order aims to protect your interests until you reconcile, file for divorce, or the death of either party. It may be helpful to read our page on divorce as all the same rules of law and procedures are followed in a legal separation as in a dissolution of marriage.

A legal separation is not a necessary step in obtaining a divorce. However, if the decision to divorce is made down the road a judge may decide that since you were satisfied with your legal separation agreement, the same arrangement should carry over to the divorce settlement agreement.

For many years, the Los Angeles divorce lawyers at Furman & Zavatsky have guided families through the complex family court system. If you need assistance, call our law firm for a free case evaluation a8 (818) 528-3471. 

Review of a Legal Separation

During a legal separation proceeding, a family court will decide many of the similar issues it would during a divorce hearing, including child custody, child support, and property division. Notably, however, a legal separation does not terminate marital status, meaning they can't get remarried. to remarried.

California Family Laws

Under the law, the consent of both spouses is required for the court to render a judgment of legal separation unless one spouse has not made a general appearance.

California Family Code 2345 says, "The court may not render a judgment of the legal separation of the parties without the consent of both parties unless one party has not made a general appearance and the petition is one for legal separation."

Under California Family Code 2310, the grounds for a legal separation are the same as for divorce, which includes "(a) irreconcilable differences that have caused the marriage's irremediable breakdown. or (b) permanent legal incapacity to make decisions."

A legal separation petition can be amended to a dissolution petition after the residency requirement has been met. 

California Family Code 2321 says, "(a) In a proceeding for the legal separation of the parties in which neither party, at the time the proceeding was commenced, has complied with the residence requirements of Section 2320, either party may, upon complying with the residence requirements, amend the party's petition or responsive pleading in the proceeding to request that a judgment of dissolution of the marriage be entered. The date of the filing of the amended petition or pleading shall be deemed to be the date of commencement of the proceeding for the dissolution of the marriage for the purposes only of the residence requirements of Section 2320."

What Are the Reasons for Filing for Legal Separation?

  • They have not reached the requisite six-month residency requirement to file for divorce in California;
  • While a divorce takes six months or longer to take effect, a legal separations take effect immediately;
  • It allows couples time apart, away from the conflict of the marriage to decide if divorce is what they truly want;
  • It may allow for the retention of medical benefits and certain other benefits that divorce would bring to an end;
  • If your religious beliefs conflict with the idea of divorce, you are able to live separately and retain your marital status;
  • If you are a military spouse, you may wish to remain married for ten years so that you can take advantage of the benefits set up by the Uniformed Services Former Spouse Protection Act;
  • Remaining married for ten years or more also means being able to take advantage of certain social security benefits for a spouse;
  • Financial reasons, such as to separate finances before the end of the tax year.

As noted, if the decision to divorce is made, the legal separation agreement can likely be converted into a divorce settlement agreement. Unlike in a California divorce proceeding, there is no required waiting period to obtain a legal separation. 

If a spouse files for divorce, a minimum six ­month period must elapse before the parties are permitted to terminate their legally married status. In the alternative, if a party files for legal separation, they can obtain a judgment as quickly as the court can process the paperwork.

Legal Separation in California

However, the judgment for legal separation does not entitle either party to remarry because the marriage is still valid. After the petition for legal separation is filed, many parties elect to file for divorce at a later date. This strategy is completely permissible. However, it results in more court filing fees.

Filing for a legal separation can provide the parties with a number of financial benefits. The six-month waiting period in divorce proceedings can have a big effect on the tax consequences of divorce. Unless the divorce petition is filed six months before December 31, the parties will have fewer tax options.

Legal separation is often used as a tool to meet ten­ year marriage requirements for Social Security purposes or military pension benefits.

In order to file for divorce in California, one of the parties must meet the residency requirement. The residency requirement permits a party to file for divorce in California only if at least one spouse has resided in California for at least six months.

There is no such residency requirement in a legal separation. Thus, filing for legal separation is a tool often used to start separation proceedings while the parties wait out the six ­month requirements and later file for divorce.

A legal separation is a serious family law proceeding and should not be used if the couple is simply seeking a “trial separation”. If you hope to reconcile with your spouse, filing for legal separation may not be appropriate. If neither spouse intends to remarry, a legal separation can be appropriate in situations where divorce is against either party's religion. This option will allow the spouses to separate their assets and obtain custody and support orders.

Contact a Los Angeles Legal Separation Attorney

If you are considering a legal separation, contact our experienced Los Angeles legal separation lawyers, who can help you through the entire process. While the legal separation process is pretty straightforward, you could benefit from legal assistance regarding related issues, such as child support, custody, and the division of property.

Dealing with issues such as legal separation and possible divorce can be overwhelming. You should work with a divorce lawyer at Furman & Zavatsky to help you through this difficult period in your life.

If you are thinking about the possibility of a legal separation, contact our law firm to review the special details of your situation. We can provide legal advice and guidance. If you need additional information about legal separation or divorce, call our law firm at 818-528-3471 for a confidential consultation.

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Call a Los Angeles Divorce Lawyer

Family law disputes have the potential to have a significant impact on your quality of life and overall happiness. As a result, it is critical for you to protect your rights to the fullest extent possible when involved in a dispute related to family law. The lawyers of Furman & Zavatsky have the skill and experience to resolve your case as favorably as possible and provide compassionate and understanding legal counsel and representation. We also offer flat fee legal services for divorce and family law issues.

To schedule a free consultation with one of our Los Angeles divorce attorneys, call our office today at 818-528-3471. Read our blog on how to prepare for your first meeting with a divorce lawyer.

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