A legal separation in California is not an annulment, and it isn’t a divorce. It is, however, a way to give you and your spouse some time and some breathing room to assess your marital situation. A legal separation does not change your marital status, but it does mean you do not share a residence. When parents legally separate, they have to work out child support and a visitation arrangement. For a number of reasons, thousands of Californians have chosen legal separation as an alternative to divorce, and according to the U.S. Census Bureau, about fourteen percent of couples who legally separate eventually reunite. Learn more about legal separation by speaking promptly with an experienced Orange County family lawyer.
Legal separation is never considered final; in time, spouses either reunite or move toward divorce. Simply living apart does not constitute a “legal” separation, either. Spouses must file through the court system for formal legal separation status with the help of an experienced family lawyer. Legal separation is frequently the option for couples with religious convictions that make divorce impossible. Others opt for separation to keep the benefits they would lose in a divorce. In California, at least one spouse must live in the state for at least six months before you can file for a divorce. No similar requirement applies to legal separation.
Before making any choice to end your marriage, seek some advice. You probably have a best friend you can trust. If you’re part of a faith community, it probably offers personal counseling. Counseling resources are abundant in southern California in both the public and private sectors. Most importantly, if you’re thinking about a divorce in Orange County, Los Angeles County, or elsewhere in southern California, obtain the trustworthy legal advice you need, and schedule a meeting as quickly as possible to discuss legal separation and divorce with an experienced Orange County family lawyer.