If you and your spouse find it hard to get along, you will be at a crossroads – do you work on your marriage or file for divorce? In California, you have a third potion – legal separation.
This option is usually chosen by those who have decided to separate but who are not ready to file for divorce. Currently, there are two ways to legally separate:
- Citing irreconcilable differences
- One spouse experiencing permanent legal incapacity
Is legal separation the right option for you?
You must decide if legal separation is right for you and your situation. While it may not work for everyone, it does offer some benefits.
For example, with legal separation, you do not have to meet stringent residency requirements like when filing for divorce. If you and your spouse can agree to this, you can move forward with it.
Additionally, once the separation is granted, you can essentially live separately. You can utilize court orders to separate your finances and determine children’s support and custody. In some situations, you can retain some marital benefits, like life or health insurance, while legally separated.
While the legal separation is in effect, you are still married. For many couples, the separation period gives them time to determine if moving forward with a divorce is right for their situation or if they want to remain married.
Choosing between divorce and legal separation
As you can see, legal separation offers several benefits for couples in California. While this is true, if you have decided to move forward with a divorce, it’s an unnecessary step. Learning about your legal options can help you decide what option is best for you, your spouse and your marriage.