Westlake Village Legal Separation Attorney

Not all marriages work, and while a divorce is a common route that couples pursue, there is also the option of legal separation. At the Law Offices of Ronald K. Stitch, we fully understand the legal separation process and are ready to help you get through this. You may have some confusion heading into this process, so let us get to work advising you today.

What does “legal separation” mean

When it comes to couples separating, most people think that divorce is the only option. However, there can be benefits to remaining married while going through most of the divorce motions. Sometimes, a legal separation may be the better route for your situation. You may not be sure divorce is the final result. You may want to retain some of the benefits of marriage. A legal separation is often a step that many people make before officially divorcing.

Legal separations divide the rights and responsibilities of both spouses and the issues that need to be finalized mirror those of a divorce:

It is not unreasonable for a couple to want to remain married on paper for a variety of reasons:

  • Married couples tend to have more tax and healthcare benefits, particularly if they have shared benefits.
  • Many couples may consider the idea of future reconciliation.
  • Religious practice may prevent an official divorce from occurring.

When a legal separation is granted in California, both spouses are free to live their own separate lives however they like, as long as they stick to the separation agreements.

Some important points to know about legal separation include:

  • No new marriage allowed: If a marriage has not been dissolved through a divorce in California, neither spouse can remarry or enter into a domestic partnership.
  • Children: If there are children under the age of 18 involved between a legally separated couple, then family law matters related to child custody, visitation, and child support can be decided as part of the separation process.
  • Residency: Couples who do not meet the residency requirements for a divorce may choose to initiate a legal separation because there are no residency requirements for this process. For a divorce, California law requires that at least one person in the marriage has been a resident in the County where they file for legal separation for a minimum of three months and a resident of California for a minimum of six months.
  • Property division: Spouses can agree on how property will be handled during a legal separation, but if the spouses cannot agree.
  • Options: A legal separation in California does not end a marriage, though it can be made into a divorce petition. Because separation is not a legal action that carries the finality of a divorce, many spouses choose this option when unsure whether they want to sever the marriage altogether. Additionally, legal separation could allow one spouse to maintain legal status for immigration purposes. Legal separation will also enable one spouse to maintain their health care coverage if dependent on the other spouse.
  • Immediate impact: A legal separation in California will go into effect immediately after the court orders it. This is not the same as a divorce, which can only go into effect six months after filing.

Are legal separations quicker than divorces in California

There are no specific time frames for a legal separation. The date of separation occurs when a couple is no longer acting as spouses, but a final judgment on legal separation could take longer than that. When there are no contested issues in the legal separation, the process works faster than if there are disagreements.

Legal separation and mediation

At the Law Offices of Ronald K. Stitch, our certified family law specialists also provide mediation services for couples. Mediation can offer an unbiased third party a chance to help a couple sort through the issues that go into a legal separation. It is often more cost-effective, less contentious, and particularly effective for amicable couples.

An attorney can help with a transition into a divorce

Over time, the two parties who have been legally separated may decide to transition into a divorce. After a period of separation, both sides will thoroughly understand the benefits and consequences of going through with the divorce. At the Law Offices of Ronald K. Stitch, our Westlake Village legal separation attorneys will be able to help you transition your separation into a finalized divorce. Our divorce lawyers will be able to analyze the aspects of your legal separation, get input from all parties involved, make any necessary changes, and hopefully transition seamlessly to a finalized divorce.

It is time to get help for your legal separation

If you and your spouse are considering divorce or separation, you will want to explore all available options. At the Law Offices of Ronald K. Stitch, we are ready to help you explore and get through the legal separation process as an alternative to divorce. Our certified family law specialist will sit with you and answer your questions. This is a difficult time for you, so let our compassionate Westlake Village legal separation attorneys help. You can contact us for a free consultation by clicking here or calling 818-707-0202.

Top Icon