In the state of California, marital partners who are seeking to dissolve their marriage can choose from a variety of legal options. The alternatives are a “conventional” divorce trial, arbitration, mediation, “collaborative” divorce, legal separation, and annulment.
A couple does not always need to go straight to divorce. Legal separation is an option for couples who are determining if they actually want to end their divorce.
You must have lived in the state for six months before you file for divorce, but there is no such residency requirement for a legal separation. After filing for divorce, you must wait an additional six months before your divorce can be finalized; but there is no waiting period for a legal separation. Once you file for legal separation, it is in place.
As part of a legal separation, you’ll want to draft an agreement. This can be beneficial should you decide to go through with a divorce.
Partners with children must arrange for child support payments and visitations. You can learn more about the option of legal separation in California – and about whether legal separation may be right for you – by discussing your own situation with an experienced Long Beach family law attorney.
Moving Forward with Divorce
If you decide to divorce after your separation, California law allows you to convert your legal separation to a divorce. This can be done at any point during the legal process. Either spouse is able to file a request for the conversion. This will require additional paperwork.
Another way to move your divorce along without establishing residency for 6 months (which is required in California); you can file for legal separation immediately. The six-month waiting period for a final divorce decree begins as you work through the legal separation procedure. When it has expired, you are able to file to convert your matter to a divorce.
Even if you feel like your marriage can be saved, and you do not want to pursue divorce, it’s advised that you work with a family law attorney. You’ll want to take actions to protect your assets, credit, home, children, and possible future right to support settlements. If your spouse files, a temporary hearing can be held in as little as a few days.
In what ways is legal separation comparable to divorce?
Petitioning for legal separation in California is just as complicated as filing for divorce. This is a no-fault divorce state where a divorce and a legal separation require identical legal grounds – either “irreconcilable differences” or one spouse’s incurable insanity.
The two actions are almost identical, from serving the divorce or separation petition to the full disclosure of both partners’ finances. In legal separations as well as divorces, the partners can personally resolve any disputed issues in the marriage, or a court can make those decisions when the partners cannot reach agreements.
In both divorces and separations, the spouses can reduce their time, expenses, and anxieties by reaching agreements on as many topics as they can before they formally initiate legal separation or divorce proceedings.
Having the insights and advice of a Long Beach family law attorney is imperative for anyone who is seeking a legal separation or a divorce in southern California.
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